On a recent spring day, just blocks from the White House, Maxime Holder and a team of French and American bakers are busy preparing and testing their first batches of bread; kneading, pounding and then listening for the crackle of a perfectly baked French loaf.
“Our family is passionate about bread,” explained Holder, Chairman of Groupe PAUL. “More than being an art, we think that giving good bread to people is something that is very important.”
Holder represents the fifth generation of a family business rooted in the craft of baking. His first memories of baking are with his father and grandmother in their bakery in the North of France.
New Orleans residents, and the millions of people who pour into the city each year for Mardi Gras, Saints games and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (a.k.a. "Jazz Fest") know that the city is fueled by a fierce passion for life, art, music and perhaps most of all - its food. In the face of almost unimaginable tragedy, the city's signature cuisine sustained the bodies, spirits and souls of its people and inspired them to fight ever-mounting odds to keep the culture they love alive for future generations.
Eatocracy gathered together some of Louisiana most vibrant, vocal and knowledgeable residents, fed them a multi-course meal crafted by celebrated chef John Besh, and asked them what they think makes New Orleans cuisine such a vital part of the culture.
And when people like CNN's James Carville and Mary Matalin, chef and civil rights activist Leah Chase, Mad Men star Bryan Batt, food scholar Poppy Tooker, Treme writer Lolis Eric Elie, CNN Hero Derick Tabb and fisherman Lance Nacio sit together at a table, they're going to talk with their mouths and their hearts full.
Watch the video and share your fondest New Orleans memories and your favorite restaurant tips in the comments below.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have now returned the pomp and pageantry to Buckingham Palace for dinner and an after-party, where we can only hope the newlyweds and their closest friends and family are well on their way to Prince Harry's rumored "survivors' breakfast."