Local diners will get a rare chance to sample dishes from several local restaurants under one roof, and benefit the future of the restaurant industry, at the Bayou Culinary Showcase on Aug. 21.

The seventh annual event will feature dishes from nearly 20 local restaurants including including Malt ‘N Burger, Flanagan’s, Cavan, The Ground Pat’i, Cinclare Southern Bistro, Dominique’s Wine Boutique and Bistro, Alumni Grill, Big Mike’s BBQ Smokehouse and Golden Dragon.

Attendees will vote on their favorite for the People’s Choice Award at the event, which will take place from 5:30-9 p.m. at Cypress Columns, 157 Tourist Drive in Gray.

Guests will see live cooking demos from Chef Logan Boudreaux of Cinclare Southern Bistro in Thibodaux, Chef Marshall Welsh of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University and students from the local Lafourche Parish Career Center ProStart Program.

The evening will also include a live auction for items such as dinner for four at Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans and an airboat tour with dinner for two at Spahr’s Seafood in Des Allemands.

The event is put on the the Louisiana Restaurant Association's Bayou Chapter and will benefit the state group's Education Foundation. The foundation offers scholarships and seeks to promote the restaurant industry as a career choice through its restaurant management and culinary arts program, ProStart, offered at 55 high schools statewide, including three in the Houma-Thibodaux area.

ProStart is a national initiative that gives high-school students a close look at restaurant entrepreneurship and hands-on training for work in professional kitchens.

"That is a two-year program while they're in high school," LRA Chapter Member Services Coordinator Britney Ford said. "There's a section that's more geared toward hospitality, so the students work to come up with a restaurant concept. And the other section actually helps teach them how to cook and hopefully transition into a culinary program."

General admission tickets are $25 per person in advance and $35 at the door the night of the event. Tickets and VIP tables can be purchased at LRA.org.

Staff Writer Scott Yoshonis can be reached at 850-1148 or syoshonis@houmatoday.com. Follow him on Twitter @Foster_Cajun.