An Event to Be Remembered

December 12, 2018

Public Information Officer


Novel first time event in SA and NOLA news may be repeated in the future to showcase skills and culture of the two iconic cities---and their outstanding culinary students 

A trio of graduating St. Philip’s College Tourism, Hospitality and Culinary Arts Department student chefs---Rachel Danae Portzline, Deborah Weiss and Rebecca Diann Anthony---shadowed and supported great chefs whenSan Antonio and New Orleans wrapped up their respective Tricentennial observances with a specialist foodie event Dec. 3 in the Tre Trattoria restaurant of the San Antonio Museum of Art

Anthony, Portzline and Weiss not only began the semester by promoting American culinary culture and their college in the gastronomy capital of France duringGastronomy Week as part of the college’s international exchange program in Paris, they were half of the team in France when they began the Fall Semester in September of 2018.

Culminating the same semester in a once-in-a career project, the trio is among the many outstanding students who are graduating this week during the college’s commencement ceremony Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. in Freeman Coliseum at 3201 E. Houston St. 

True to form in their high-energy industry, opportunity came with what non-members of the industry might describe as lightning-fast. Details on the dream job of the 2018 came in from organizers on Nov. 29. The trio was to arrive at La Trattoria at 5 p.m. to be assigned to support chefs during the dinner, and they would complete the service at 10 p.m. that evening. All three were enrolled in the Advanced Management class of Chef Patrick Costello that was also the team for the college’s President’s Culinary Gala Dinner on Dec. 1.

“Rachel, Deborah and Rebecca were active in their last, graduating semester,” Costello said. “I was not requested by the organizers at the city to physically accompany them to the site, so we set up a group text and they were fine reporting back on their own,” said Costello.

By the time the trio had accepted their seemingly impossible mission, part one of the regional gastronomic exchange had taken place on Nov. 27 when the legendary New Orleans SoBou restaurant provided host venue support and San Antonio chefs Jason Dady (Range, Shuck Shack), Jeff Balfour (Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery) andCariño Cortez (Mi Tierra, Pico de Gallo) prepared Texas quail, grits and mole. The second part of the exchange engaged Anthony, Portzline and Weiss at the museum under the leadership of Jason Dady and featured six of New Orleans' finest---Will Avelar, Bergen Carman, and Michelle Tanallo  (Emeril Lagasse’s Meril), Juan Carlos Gonzalez and Meg Bickford  (SoBou and Commander’s Place) and Michael Gulotta and Travis Cheatom (Maypop and MoPho). 

Cocktails were served at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7:30 pm. for this paid event in that was in almost instant waitlist status when tickets sales went online. 

The day of the San Antonio event, Jason Dady was the primary expert working with Anthony, Portzline and Weiss and giving them the dream assignments. Each knew the experience might see them helping local chefs with the cocktail hour in addition to helping the visiting chefs with the dinner, a fluid situation that would probably develop throughout the project.

Guests dinging on pretzel with andouille sausage and wintergreen salads included San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Councilman Cruz Shaw (D-2), Alamo Colleges District Trustee Joe Aldereteleaders of each city's Tricentennial Commission and optimism that the event might be continued in the future. 

“We do hope that this will become an annual event, so all of you who are here tonight are experiencing a great exchange of the culinary heritage between the cities of New Orleans and San Antonio in what we hope will be an expanded event for both cities,” Nirenberg reportedly told the audience. 

Find details on the San Antonio event to be remembered at the Dec. 4 Rivard Report article San Antonio Hosts New Orleans Chefs in Final Tricentennial Exchange Dinner by writer Hugh Daschbach and photographer Bonnie Arbittier, and find photos of students or guests at the San Antonio Current story Moments from San Antonio's Tricentennial Culinary Exchange with New Orleans' Finest Chefs by San Antonio Current staff with photos by Jaime Monzon, the Power of Preservation Facebook page and the YouTube video Iconic SA, New Orleans chefs celebrate 300 years of culinary legacy posted by KSAT 12.