how2heroes goes to New Orleans!

Our trip to New Orleans started out as a vacation. Then we thought, “How could we possibly go to New Orleans, one of the greatest food cities in America, and not shoot some how2heroes videos there?” The answer was clear. We couldn’t. So we began our search for some heroes in New Orleans (of which there are many) who would be interested in sharing some great Cajun and Creole recipes with us.

Crawfish Boil!

Finding the Chefs
We truly scored with the chefs we found. We turned to the wonderful folks at the New Orleans Cooking Experience who welcomed us with open arms and introduced us to our heroes, Boo Macomber, Poppy Tooker and Chiqui Collier. Makes you want to have a cool nickname, doesn’t it?

The New Orleans Cooking Experience offers classes to anyone who’s interested in learning about authentic New Orleans cuisine. It’s located in an Inn – the House on Bayou Road, part of a former Creole plantation compound. If you really want to steep yourself in New Orleans culture, I HIGHLY recommend you take a class here. We took one with award-winning New Orleans chef, Frank Brigsten, of Brigsten’s restaurant. It was truly one of the most fun things we’ve ever done. Frank actually hugged us when we left. Only in New Orleans.

We had exchanged several e-mails and some phone calls to schedule our shoots at the New Orleans Cooking Experience so we started to get an idea that we are in for a treat. Each of these women has their own unique personality, inspirations and philosophy on food. They all chipped in like a family scheduling a family reunion to discuss who would make what and what order they wanted to cook in. Boo had to travel from 2 hours out of New Orleans so she wanted to go last. Besides, she had to catch her own fresh crawfish that morning so she needed some time for that.

Creole & Cajun Heaven
What ensued in this kitchen was pure bliss. Wonderful women sharing rich stories of New Orleans food and culture and cooking up an absolute storm. Incredible fragrances wafting through the place that made it hard for us to concentrate. And the reward of having the pleasure to sample the fruits of their labor – Boo’s Cajun Crawfish Boil & Etouffee, Poppy’s Calas (an old New Orleans street sweet she’s reviving) and Chiqui’s New Orleans-style BBQ Shrimp (not barbecued at all, go figure). The heart and soul of New Orleans is its food, culture and music. Everyone should experience it.

Chiqui was brave enough to go first. BBQ Shrimp is near and dear to her heart as it was something she grew up with. Watch her profile video to hear the whole story from her. She did a brilliant job and I think will be introducing many of you to a new recipe that will become part of your cooking repertoire. So delicious.

Crawfish Etouffee Calas Boo's Crawfish Etouffee Poppy's Delicious Calas

Poppy went second. Her name definitely sums her up. She pops – just full of life and energy. Her passion for bringing back the Calas (an old New Orleans treat similar to a Beignet but better) is infectious. As one of our editors, Conor, said, “I never thought of food as being an endangered species – until now.” Poppy has us all embracing and making Calas. We hope you give it a try too. She has provided both a sweet and savory recipe for you.

Boo was our final hero of the day. This was her first shoot ever and you will be shocked to know that after watching her video. Although she needed an Abida beer to help her relax (lol), she just settled right in and delivered her Crawfish Etouffee and Crawfish Boil recipes like she’s been doing this her whole life.

In search of an Absinthe expert
For an extra special cocktail video and some Absinthe lore, we had to go off the beaten path a bit to meet up with chemist and distiller Chris Keating at one of the greatest dives you’ll ever see – Snake and Jake’s Christmas Club Lounge.

Chris and his friend, AbsintheThe minute we met Chris in person, we knew this guy was the real deal. His passion for Absinthe is incredible. He knows every bit of history and lore about Absinthe and you can tell he loves sharing the story with everyone and helping to dispel the myths about Absinthe. It’s an exciting time for anyone interested in this anise-flavored wonder because it became legal again, thanks to the efforts of Absinthe champion Ted Breaux. It has been banned since 1912! Watch Chris’ video, Demystifying Absinthe, to find out the whole story. And for a refreshing cocktail idea (really good), watch his Absinthe Cocktail video. Chris hopes to release his own brand of Absinthe in the next year or so. We wish him all the luck in the world!

They want YOU to come visit
The one thing we heard everywhere we went in New Orleans was “thank you.” People actually thanked us for coming to New Orleans. When was the last time you went somewhere and people thanked you for coming? That’s New Orleans for you. They want people to come and enjoy the food and learn about their culture. And to spread the word. New Orleans is still struggling as you all know. But you cannot keep these people down. They need tourists. So get down there and eat! You’ll dream about it months after you return. Trust me. I’m craving a Crawfish Boil right now.

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