Day 2 of a culinary travel adventure to New Orleans included a lesson in making a four-course meal at the New Orleans Cooking Experience cooking school.
The Pastry Chef's Baking
Day 2 of Sur La Table's "Tasting New Orleans" culinary tour started off with a morning excursion to the Crescent City Farmers Market where locals sell fresh produce grown on their farms, freshly caught seafood (fish, shrimp, crabs, etc), homemade jams and jellies, baked goods, popcorn and kettle corn, popsicles, citrus fruits, locally grown strawberries and other fresh, local foods.
We had our own personal tour guide in Poppy Tooker, a culinary icon in New Orleans who hosts "Louisana Eats!" on the Louisiana NPR affiliate station, brought the slow food movement to New Orleans, and was recognized by the International Association of Cooking Professionals with their first Community Service Award for her efforts during Katrina.
And if that wasn't enough, she also won a Throwdown with Bobby Flay for her seafood gumbo. Poppy's cookbook, "Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook" features many of these vendors and it was great to meet some of them in person before reading their stories in her book.
Poppy introduced us to many of the vendors at the farmers market (while also buying fresh ingredients for our lunch). Their stories of rebuilding after Katrina and their tenacity in continuing their businesses are nothing short of amazing. It was wonderful to meet a group of people with such pride and knowledge of what they were doing and the hard work going into the success they were building.