Cooking creole is best described in two words: BOURBON & BUTTER
I literally stepped into the James Beard Foundation kitchen and felt as if I was surrounded by clouds of butter. Everything smelt SO good and believe me… it tasted even better.
I was told that every single dish had bourbon, butter or both.
As I reviewed the Evolution of Creole menu with the chef, I could not believe how many elements they managed to put on their menu. 8 hors d’oeurves. 4 intricate courses and 1 confection plate with five individual desserts. Chef Ben asked me if they went overboard and I gave him a solid head nod, YES and said, “which is why this menu is SO perfect for your James Beard dinner.”
KITCHEN TASKS: As a volunteer in the kitchen I helped prep for a few hours, stepped in where an extra hand was needed and got ready for the show. And when I say show, I really mean it. Food started to make its way out of the kitchen at 6:30pm and it did not stop until the guests left around 10:30pm.
Never have I ever seen so much food plated, passed and then vanish before my very eyes. The creole team came prepared to feed “the family” and I can only imagine how they celebrate major holidays down south!
FOOD FOCUS: When I think of New Orleans I think of the typical crawfish and po’boy sandwiches, but tonight was on a completely different level- I ate an oyster three times the size of my tongue (with a little lemon of course), homemade crab mozzarella, handmade oyster spaghetti (literally oysters were used instead of eggs), creole style bbq lambchops (worchester sauce, garlic, oil), and a lamb meat pie that would put an Australian meat pie to shame.
OVERALL: I’m SO happy I got a chance to work with the New Orleans team. Not only were they amazing chefs, they were such a great group to work with! So genuine, extremely organized and ready to entertain with their southern hospitality (they even remembered my name)!
To all of the chefs (Dickie, Brendan, Darin, Alfred, Ben, Cajun Frank, Stephanie, Geordie)- thank you for including me in your army of chefs, it was a pleasure working with each and everyone of you! Expect me in New Orleans so you can show me how its done down south!