When top toques like Daniel Boulud, José Andrés, John Besh and Michael Chiarello get, erm, late night cravings, they don't go scrambling for the pots, pans and sous vide machine.
Is it hot in here, or is it just the peppercorns? We asked José Andrés, Michel Nischan, Gail Simmons, Michael Chiarello, Sang Yoon, John Besh, Richard Blais and Andrew Zimmern to deliver some serious sweet talk to their favorite ingredients and kitchen tools in the video above.
Hungry for more?
The best meals aren't just about Michelin stars and vintage Champagne. No matter where these celebrity chefs' careers have taken them, they're always hungry for the flavors of home.
Chefs John Besh, George Mendes, Andrew Zimmern, Marcus Samuelsson, Michael Chiarello, Angelo Sosa, Richard Blais and Sang Yoon talk about the influences their families and cultural ties have had on the way they cook today.
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.
When Leah Chase is about to speak, the whole room goes quiet.
Democratic strategist James Carville noted this from his perch at the faraway end of the dining room table at Eatocracy's Secret Supper last Thursday. Ms. Chase, seated at the center, stirred in her seat and Carville, along with the other 14 guests, stopped talking and craned in. When the 88 year old "Queen of Creole Cuisine" has words to share, they tend to be worth hearing.
You know you're at a table full of New Orleanians when there's a 20-minute conversation about gumbo.
How dark should the roux be? Do you use file? Can you put meat in a seafood gumbo? (Scandal! John Besh went back and put okra and andouille into James Carville's mother's seafood gumbo recipe because he thought it was too thin! Mary Matalin applauded that move.) Is is really gumbo if there's no okra? Why does any of this matter?
Eatocracy has been in New Orleans this week getting ready for the second edition of our Secret Supper, and it's finally dinner time in the Big Easy.
Democratic strategist and Louisiana native James Carville, along with his wife, Republican strategist and CNN political contributor Mary Matalin, have graciously welcomed us into their New Orleans home for this evening's soiree.
But tonight, it's more than just eating. Just as we have been all week, guests will be discussing the taste that defines the city - from oysters Rockefeller to your mother's gumbo - and how that taste helped a city cope in the aftermath of two disasters.
We’ve got a great line-up of guests including the “Queen of Creole Cuisine” Leah Chase, Bryan Batt of "Mad Men," local radio host and culinary activist Poppy Tooker, Captain Lance Nacio of Anna Marie Seafood, CNN Hero Derrick Tabb and many more.
Y'all wanted to see the Cooking with Carville show? You got it.
Anything can happen in the Big Easy. See what happens when a celebrity chef and a political consultant come together over a big pot of mama's gumbo.
Laissez les bons temps rouler! Eatocracy is in New Orleans this week getting ready for the second edition of our Secret Supper. We'll be sharing the people, purveyors and places that make this such a significant food town, and hope you'll join in with your questions, memories, restaurant suggestions and general bonhomie.
The young man with the broad, gold-capped smile slammed the van door and picked up the microphone. "My name is Anthony, and I'll be your shuttle driver today. If this is your first time in New Orleans, there is one thing you need to know: eat all the food you can. You cannot go wrong with that."
Perhaps it's possible to find someone within the New Orleans city limits who is neutral on the subject of food – agnostic on the provenance of the city's best po-boy (or for that matter, how to spell it) and content with a frozen burrito on a Monday night when by all means they ought to be having red beans and rice. Chances are they just haven't been in town long enough for a local to set them straight, lead them by the hand to a proper coffee shop or sno-ball stand and then maybe on over to the house for Friday night gumbo.
Don't worry about them – it'll happen, because goodness, do New Orleanians love to talk…and argue……and educate…and opine about food. It's who they are, and what has kept them going, even when their very way of life was in danger of being swept away forever.
5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.
Cookbook author, restaurateur, James Beard winner and darn good chef John Besh is owner of six New Orleans restaurants - August, Besh Steak, Lüke, La Provence, American Sector and Domenica.
When he's not cooking up the foodways of his native southern Louisiana, you might just find him chanting "Who dat?" for his beloved New Orleans Saints. With the NFL season officially kicking off tonight as the Saints defend their Super Bowl title against the Minnesota Vikings, it only seemed fitting that Chef Besh offer up his pre-game eating route to the Superdome.
5 Things to Eat Before Going to Watch the New Orleans Saints Kick Butt: John Besh