As the song goes…”Do you know what it means to miss new Orleans?” I do. This is my soul home. Because of history, because of who I am, who my grandmother was. New Orleans cuisine is the perfect way to understand history. And on each of the 4 occasions I have gone to take cooking classes here, I have come away understanding more about New Orleans, and even a little more about myself.
There are two kids of classes here – exhibition classes where you sit, drink beer and watch food being cooked and then eat it. Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours in the French Quarter at all. and if you are on your own, or pressed for time absolutely don’t miss out. Make sure to pick up some Beignet Mix and Joe’s Stuff, some crawfish boil and maybe even some Gumbo File at the store before you leave.
However, if you are with a group, and you have a little more time to spare, book a private cooking class. You can choose your menu, making a number of dishes depending on how many people you have, and learn from an awesome chef, while drinking Abita beer, or wine or sweet tea.
I highly recommend Michael, a campy historian with rapier sharp wit and a great sense of humor. He was able to walk us through cuisine that developed from 300 years of history and a mishmash of immigrants; The Acadiens from Nova Scotia (my peeps!) became the Cajuns, with their music, and ability to farm in floodlands, the Spanish, French and Americans got mixed in there; arrivals from the Caribbean brought rice, spice and the Creole feel that marks New Orleans cuisine today.
We chose our menus in advance each time. Crab Corn bisque, Oysters Rockefeller, Crawfish Etouffe, Jambalaya, Gumbo and pecan pie and bread pudding. We left with our bellies full, our recipes, an apron and amazing memories.