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Louisiana Eats

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Louisiana Eats! is a radio show for people who cook and people who love to eat well—all with a Louisiana point of view and Poppy’s distinctive Louisiana voice. In each program listeners join Poppy as she meets people who produce, cook, and eat the foods we enjoy and treasure — exploring kitchens and stores, farms and waterways where favorite foods are produced and prepared. And because Louisianans love all kinds of food, Poppy won’t limit herself to shrimp creole and hot sauce!


New Orleans, LA


Louisiana Eats! is a radio show for people who cook and people who love to eat well—all with a Louisiana point of view and Poppy’s distinctive Louisiana voice. In each program listeners join Poppy as she meets people who produce, cook, and eat the foods we enjoy and treasure — exploring kitchens and stores, farms and waterways where favorite foods are produced and prepared. And because Louisianans love all kinds of food, Poppy won’t limit herself to shrimp creole and hot sauce!




St. Tammany Taste Quick Bites: Cured. On Columbia

On Columbia Street in the heart of downtown Covington, you'll find Cured. on Columbia – a culinary venture that doesn’t fall neatly into a traditional category. It's part coffee house and part pub, with a changing menu that includes everything from sandwiches and soups to cheese and charcuterie boards. It's perhaps better defined by its vibe. Cured. on Columbia is a sunny, lively space that embraces guests as they are and gives them a place to kick up their heels and hang out – anytime from morning coffee to cocktails after work. Co-owners Amanda Birdsong and Anna Watkins joined us in their back garden to talk about their community-based business – a place some locals have described as "Covington's living room."


Celebrating Freedom, Fortitude and Food

Since 2021, June 19th – or Juneteenth as it's popularly known – has been a federal holiday commemorating the end of enslavement in the United States. On this week's show, we celebrate the day with a trio of African American chefs who discuss the inspiration they draw from their spiritual ancestors. First, we hear from Chef Serigne Mbaye of Dakar NOLA about his plans for a grand Juneteenth feast in honor of the holiday. Next, Chef Ashbell McElveen tells the fascinating story of James Hemings, the enslaved man who was the founding father of American fine dining. And finally, chef and cooking school director Dee Lavigne talks with us about African American chef and entrepreneur Lena Richard, who, by the 1940s, had become the Crescent City's premier caterer, a renowned cookbook author, and the first TV food personality. For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.


Addiction, Recovery & Resilience

From the front of the house to the back, across Louisiana and the entire country, there is a substance abuse problem in bars and restaurants. On this week's show, we speak with Will Arendell, a renowned substance abuse counselor, who demystifies the psychology and physiology of addiction. We then meet two New Orleanians who have overcome a host of challenges to find success in food. Sam Caruso had struggled with drugs and alcohol for years before forging a new path for himself with Laozi Ice Cream. His French-style custard is a local favorite, which he sells out of the back of Blue Dot Donuts in Mid-City. For Martha Gilreath, her pop-up bakery Nolita represented a fresh start. In 2022, Martha met Sam in the rooms of recovery. That year, Sam invited Martha to sell king cakes from his Mid-City location. Months later, she was named executive chef at The Chicory House in New Orleans’ Garden District. Martha joined us in the studio to tell us about her journey. For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.


Northshore Road Trip

On this week's show, we’re trekking across the Causeway once again to explore the culinary scene in St. Tammany Parish. We begin at Backwater Farmstead in the rural town of Bush, Louisiana. There, Ross McKnight and his family make foie gras, a luxury food they hope to make more accessible in our state. After we tour the farm, we head over Olde Town Slidell to meet Jeremy and Alyssa Reilly of Restaurant Cote and the Maple Room. These high school sweethearts have carved out a very special place in the hearts and stomachs of the Slidell community for nearly 10 years. We then speak with Nick Asprodites, the proprietor of two dockside restaurants and bars: the original Blue Crab on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain and a second iteration at the Pointe Marina in Slidell. Finally, we meet Chef Jeff Mattia. Jeff opened his first restaurant, Pyre Provisions, in Covington just months before the Covid-19 pandemic began. Though Pyre Provisions closed its doors this year, Jeff has found continued success in his newest restaurant concept, Pyre BBQ on the Mandeville Trace. For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.


Let Them Eat Cake!

Whether it's the most elegant wedding reception or a simple family birthday party, no celebration is complete without a cake. On this week's show, we explore this delicious dessert in all its glory. First, we sit down with Charlotte McGehee, the alter ego of Debbie Does Doberge, to find out how she's given the traditional New Orleans doberge cake a 21st century makeover. Next, James Beard Award–winning author Aleksandra Crapanzano lets us in on the sumptuous secrets of Parisian home bakers found in her book, Gâteau: The Surprising Simplicity of French Cakes. And finally, the Cake Mix Doctor is in the house. Anne Byrn's book American Cake takes readers back to the origins of baking in America. From birthday cakes to wedding cakes, Anne has the history behind each delicious layer. For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.


A Cure For What Ails You

In many places, the cocktail hour is an honored – even sacred – tradition. And in few places is that more true than New Orleans. On this week's show, we explore the fascinating evolution of cocktail culture in the Big Easy – its past, present and future. We begin with craft cocktail master Neal Bodenheimer. Neal, who opened Freret Street bar Cure in 2009, traces the city's long love affair with concocted libations in his James Beard-nominated book, Cure: New Orleans Drinks And How To Mix 'Em. Next, we swing over to Gravier Street to join flavorist Christa Cotton on a tour of her El Guapo factory where she creates her internationally award-winning bitters and much-loved cocktail mixers. Finally, we sit down with T. Cole Newton, one of New Orleans' premiere bartenders and bar owners. His book, Cocktail Dive Bar, not only shares recipes from his famed Mid-City hangout Twelve Mile Limit, but also imparts plenty of thoughtful wisdom Cole has garnered from over a decade in business. For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.


Dooky Chase: A Living Legacy

In 1941, Emily and Dooky Chase, Sr. opened Dooky Chase Restaurant, a sandwich shop on Orleans Avenue in New Orleans. Five years later, a young girl from Madisonville, Louisiana married Emily and Dooky's son, big band leader Edgar "Dooky" Chase, Jr. Under Leah's leadership, the simple shop grew into one of the first African American fine dining restaurants in the country – the place where Leah Chase established herself as the Queen of Creole Cuisine. Since her passing in 2019, Leah's legacy lies in the hands of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Now, that crew, which Leah always referred to as "the grands," are debuting their own TV series, produced locally by WYES-TV and airing on PBS affiliates throughout the country. For this momentous occasion, we sat down with the younger generations at the restaurant during the taping of "The Dooky Chase Kitchen: Leah's Legacy." On this week's show, we hear not only those young, ambitious voices, but we've dug into our archives to bring you material that never previously aired from the late, great Leah herself. For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.


Considering Creole, Keeping The Culture

Do you have a favorite hot spot where your family has gathered for generations? Is it still there? Sadly, when it comes to Black-owned bars and lounges, many have been disappearing from local landscapes – often without fanfare or mention. New Orleans native L. Kasimu Harris has watched with dismay as many of these vital Black establishments have closed their doors in recent years. Since 2018, he has been documenting those that remain, capturing photos and oral histories as part of his ongoing series, "Vanishing Black Bars & Lounges." He joins us to talk about the project. Then, we speak with Touré Folkes of Turning Tables. Touré is working tirelessly to bring diversity to New Orleans' bar scene by providing Black professionals with training, mentorship, and the resources they need to access real opportunity. Finally, our dear friend, Vance Vaucresson, is back with big news! After nearly two decades, Vance and his wife Julie are thrilled to be opening Vaucresson's Creole Cafe & Deli in New Orleans' Seventh Ward – where the family had a business and was a vital part of the community since the late 1800s.


Pascal's Manale: Past & Future

On March 17th, 2023, the Dickie Brennan restaurant group purchased the 110-year-old Uptown landmark, Pascal's Manale Restaurant. This new chapter of Manale's guarantees that generations of beloved, delicious authentic traditions will continue to be honored there on Napoleon Avenue. On this week's show, we explore the generational ties that have long existed between Pascal's family – the Defelices – and the Brennan family. We also time travel through the years of the Uptown gem. This history, which has been immortalized in Poppy's 2018 book, The Pascal's Manale Cookbook, focuses on two Sicilian immigrant families, the Manales and the Radostas, forebearers of the Defelice clan. Three generations of family share their stories with us. We also visit Manale's oyster bar for a once-in-a-lifetime shucking experience with celebrity oyster shucker "Uptown T" Thomas Stewart.


Louisiana Sugar Kings

Whether you’re observing Easter, Passover, or any of the springtime traditions from across the world, there's a good chance that sugar will play a part of your celebrations. On this week's show, we pay tribute to that beloved sweetener in many ways. First, we learn about Leon Godchaux, Louisiana's own titan of the sugar industry in the 19th century. His rags-to-riches story comes to life in Peter Wolf's new book, The Sugar King: Leon Godchaux, A New Orleans Legend, His Creole Slave and His Jewish Roots. Peter, who is Godchaux's great-great-grandson, tells us how this poor, illiterate Jewish immigrant built a business empire with his innovative spirit. Then, we tour the century plus old Domino Sugar Refinery in Chalmette, Louisiana – the largest and oldest facility of its type in all the Americas. Every day, the installation processes millions of pounds of raw sugar, turning it into those white crystals you find at your grocery store. Finally, we visit the Easter bunny’s best friend, Elmer's Chocolate in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. If you grew up in the Gulf South, there's a good chance your Easter basket was filled with treats from Elmer’s Chocolate – our state's very own heritage candy company. We tour the factory where Elmer’s prized Gold Bricks, Pecan Eggs, and Heavenly Hash are made. Heavenly Hash is currently celebrating its 100th year. For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.


St. Tammany Taste Quick Bites: Roots Plants & Coffee

Want some plants to go with that coffee? On a sunny corner of Olde Town Slidell, Roots Plants and Coffee is keeping the Northshore caffeinated along with views of some tropical greenery. Located in a former antique mall, the cozy café is filled with vintage furniture, warm vibes, and those unique plants available for purchase. On a busy weekday morning, Louisiana Eats stopped by Roots Plants and Coffee to share a cup of java with owner Bryisha Lyons.


The Creole African Connection

Historically, when people consider the roots of classic Creole food, the French are given most of the credit. But lately there has been increasing focus on the African hand that stirred those pots. New Orleans has been blessed in recent years with an influx of young African chefs and restaurateurs who have been busy shedding new light on where our food really came from. On this week's show, we honor those ancestors with the help of New Orleans’ new African culinary guard. From Addis NOLA, we hear from Dr. Biruk Alemayehu and Prince Lobo, the mother-and-son team bringing their authentic Ethiopian dining experience to historic Bayou Road. That includes injera bread and honey wine that have been served in the Horn of Africa for thousands of years. Then, West African chef Fanta Tambajang recounts the journey from her home in Gambia to her French Quarter restaurant Bennachin. You may already know and love her classic jama jama and fried plantains from the Jazz Fest where Fanta has been a sensation for decades. Finally, Queen Ndir describes the genesis of her popular Central City eatery, Ndindy African Cuisine, where the primarily Senegalese menu also features dishes from Ghana, Nigeria, and even Jamaica. For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.


Family Style Food Love

What does family mean to you? For the folks on this week's show, when it comes to food, family means everything. NOCCA Culinary Arts student and Chopped Junior champion Retiba Hagazzi is a perfect example of that. The bright, ambitious teenager learned how to love people through food from her father, Khalid. They share that love with the world every time their food truck, Sittoo's Kitchen pulls up. They join us in the studio to share their story. Jarred Zeringue of Wayne Jacob's Smokehouse perpetuates generational old food love at the LaPlace landmark. When the Vacherie-born chef acquired the business in 2016, he made sure to keep the Jacob's family recipes authentic, in part because of the vital role they played in his own family’s food traditions. We talk with him about the smokehouse and his new book, Southern and Smoked: Cajun Cooking through the Seasons. Finally, we speak with keepers of the Poor Boy flame, John and his son Jason Gendusa. The Gendusa family bakery has been inextricably tied to that famous New Orleans sandwich since 1929. We’re celebrating their bakery's centennial by hearing the story of how it all began. For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.


Altars, Beans & Cuccidati

March 19th might be just another day in other parts of the United States, but here in New Orleans it's a day when revelers take to the streets in honor of the Feast of St. Joseph. The tradition of food altars dedicated to Jesus' foster father came to the Crescent City in the late 1800s with immigrants from Sicily, where Joseph is the patron saint. What was called Mi-Carême (or Mid-Lent by the Creoles) was a day when fasting was suspended and festivities abounded. On this week's show, we explore the holiday and join in on the celebration. Tony Marino's family were faithful followers of St. Joseph, and today, he keeps the tradition alive at his Bourbon Street home in New Orleans' French Quarter. We sit down with Tony to hear what it takes to pull off his annual street party, complete with altars and a life-sized statue of St. Joseph. Then, Arthur Brocato, third generation of Angelo Brocato's Ice Cream and Confectionary, joins us to share his family's history and explain the special role Brocato's has played in the St. Joseph's Day celebration. Founded in the French Quarter in 1905, the gelateria and pasticceria continues those traditions today on Carrollton Avenue in Mid-City. Finally, historian Laura Guccione joins us to reveal what she's discovered about the fancy dress balls that were once part of the St. Joseph tradition and to explain the mystical tie between the feast day and the Mardi Gras Indians. For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.


Finding Cultural Identity At The Table

On this week's show, we explore the ways culture and identity can collide at the table. We begin the hour with a conversation with Andrea Wang, author of the award-winning picture book, Watercress. With illustrations by Jason Chin, Andrea's book is an autobiographical tale of a child of Chinese immigrants discovering and connecting with her heritage. Then, we speak with New Orleanian Christina Quackenbush of the Filipino food pop-up Milkfish. Christina was born in the Philippines and raised in Indiana farm country before finding a career in food. She tells us about her contribution to The New Filipino Kitchen, a collection of 30 recipes and stories from chefs and home cooks of the Filipino diaspora. Finally, we hear the story of Turkish natives Ozgur and Bulent Duman and their Mandeville restaurant, Duman Artisan Kitchen. Influenced by Turkish, Italian, Israeli, and American cooking, the Dumans have cultivated an eclectic menu the likes of which have not been seen on the Northshore before. For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.


100 Years Of Camellia Beans

Ask any New Orleanian what they eat on Mondays, and you'll likely get the same reply: "red beans and rice." For 100 years now, that humble bean has been practically synonymous with Camellia Brand. Lucius Hayward founded Camellia in the Crescent City in 1923, naming the company for his wife's favorite flower. Over the last century, generations of New Orleanians have showered much love and devotion on that dried kidney bean, but as you'll learn on this week’s show, it has been far from a one-sided love affair. Vince Hayward and the entire fourth generation of Camellia Beans have devoted their centennial year to showing the Big Easy how much they love those bean eaters back. Over the course of their centennial year, Camellia will be donating one million bowls of beans to Second Harvest Food Bank. To learn more about this year-long partnership, we speak with Second Harvest's President and CEO, Natalie Jayroe. Next, we dig into the Monday red beans tradition with Vince Hayward of Camellia Beans. He gives us a tour of Camellia's "Red Bean City" exhibit at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and offers us a unique perspective on his family business. We also speak with Jamie Warrick, the Research and Development Chef for L.H. Hayward & Company. Camellia Beans is just one of the food businesses that operate under the L.H. Hayward banner, but Chef Jamie explains to us how her relationship with Camellia was established long before she got the job. Finally, we hear from Chef Chris Lusk of Antoine's Restaurant, the oldest continuously operating family-owned restaurant in the nation. He explains the role red beans play in one of the finest old Creole restaurants in New Orleans. For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.


Where Are You From?

Where are you from? While what we eat may reveal our origins, it can also reflect our life's travels from one home to another. Chef Anh Luu was born in New Orleans to parents who emigrated to the United States from Vietnam. She discovered her love of restaurants at the age of 15 when she first began working the line. When Katrina blew Anh and her family to Portland, Oregon, she became a pioneer of Viet-Cajun cuisine – an amalgamation of her Vietnamese and Louisiana heritage. She's now back in New Orleans, serving up her signature dishes at Bywater Brew Pub. Vishwesh Bhatt discovered an incredible commonality between the Indian food of his childhood in Gujarat and the Southern cuisine he came to love in Oxford, Mississippi – a topic he explores in his new book, I Am From Here: Stories and Recipes from a Southern Chef. For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.


...And More King Cake

On this week's show, we continue our exploration of all things king cake. Throughout Carnival season, local bakers are hard at work creating their own spin on the treat – one that can make or break their year. When Steve Himelfarb and his wife Becky Retz opened Cake Café, they set out to develop their own signature cake – a delicious combo of apple and goat cheese that has outlasted the bakery itself. We catch up with Steve at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) where his king cake has become an annual fundraising tradition. Then, we conclude our two-part conversation with Matt Haines, author of "The Big Book of King Cake" – a definitive king cake bible. We explore the countless varieties of king cakes from across the state and the bakers behind each innovation. We also meet king cake baker extraordinaire Dominique Rizzo of Celtica Bakery. Like his popular baguettes and croissants, Dominique's authentic French galette des rois is a game changer in New Orleans. Finally, we countdown to Fat Tuesday with writer Sally Asher and illustrator Melissa Vandiver. They introduce us to The Mermaids of New Orleans, who choose one day of the year to mingle with those of us who live above water – Mardi Gras Day, of course! For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.


Carnival Means King Cake

From Twelfth Night though Mardi Gras Day, king cake becomes somewhat of a local obsession here in Louisiana. And over the last few years, it seems like the Carnival treat is simply on steroids! Across the state, bakers have expanded the design from the original brioche dough ring decorated with purple, green, and gold sugar to create cakes featuring every kind of filling – both sweet and savory. No one knows more about king cake than Matt Haines, author of "The Big Book of King Cake." Matt uncovered amazing historical facts and chronicled the lives and cakes of 75 bakers while writing his coffee table tome. For Martha Gilreath, king cake is more than just a seasonal treat. It represents a fresh start. In 2021, Martha co-founded her pop-up bakery Nolita, which serves up her signature king cakes. Today, she's the chef at The Chicory House in New Orleans' Garden District. She tells us her story of overcoming huge odds to find culinary success. Finally, we meet Patrick Bordnick. Like Pavlov’s dog before them, Patrick's three canine companions have been conditioned to salivate whenever they encounter king cake. For nearly every day of the Mardi Gras season, Patrick and his pups sample a new cake and rate it. Patrick then posts their conclusions on his Instagram page, where the whole family enjoys a following. For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.


Recipes Lost And Found

A recipe can be more than a guide to making food. On this week's show, we meet culinary detectives who are using recipes to unlock the past. We begin with the inspiring story of humanity preserved through recipes from the time of the Holocaust. Chef Alon Shaya joins us to share the story of a family cookbook he encountered while visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and how it led to a collaboration and friendship with Steven Fenves, a man who survived the horrors of that time. Through their Rescued Recipes project, Alon and Steven have raised over $250,000 to benefit the same museum that brought them together. Then, we speak with culinary historian Gerald Patout, whose lifelong obsession with cookbooks led him to uncover a nearly forgotten tome: "The Lafayette Cookbook." As Gerald explains to us, there's really nothing typically Cajun in the century-old recipe collection. Due to his efforts, the book has been reprinted, and is now available to order via UL Press or First United Methodist Church of Downtown Lafayette. Finally, historian Miki Pfeffer joins us with tales of New Orleans' own Grace King, whose life spanned the period from before the Civil War to the Great Depression. She describes how this celebrated literary figure relished the art of dining and had a lifelong fascination with food. Miki's latest book is "A New Orleans Author in Mark Twain’s Court: Letters from Grace King's New England Sojourns."