Fans of retired chef Paul Elbling's masterful cooking will have a chance to enjoy his French specialties once again. On April 18, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the local Little Sisters of the Poor will host what they believe to be Richmond's first French Food Festival, and the culinary legend behind the late La Petite France is heading up the effort in the kitchen. The event will feature cuisine traditional to Brittany, the region of France where the Roman Catholic missionary congregation's founder, Jeanne Jugan, grew up.
All proceeds will benefit the Little Sisters' care of the impoverished elderly. Sister Eva Maria, the charity's director of nursing, says she hopes the festival turns into a Richmond tradition. "A lot of people would love to help with donations but don't know how to express the good in their heart," she says. The festival, she believes, can help build those bonds and bridge those gaps in the community. "I hope it will be a celebration of family and fun, and of the needs of our elderly brothers and sisters and the beauty of the French culture."
This is an important year for the Little Sisters, Sister Eva Maria adds. In addition to the upcoming fest, the Little Sisters are celebrating their 135th year in Richmond — the congregation has homes throughout 32 countries — as well as Jugan's canonization in October.
The event will be held at the sisters' facility at 1503 Michaels Road in the West End. Admission is free. For more information, call 288-6245.