Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hurricanes and New Orleans

The Chef's Office
January 2006
New Orleans

This is in sorts a continuation of the "Hurricane Impact on the Food
Industry" an article I had written after the horrendous effects of
Katrina, Rita and Wilma for and The Chef's Office
newsletters. For more information about the Chef's Office Newsletters
read the Special Reports section on the front page of or join our mailing list and visit our archives
at "The Chef's Office"

One important thing that I want to stress is that the need for help
continues for a lot of people in areas from Houston to Southern
Florida. Just because these disasters are out of the limelight
doesn't mean that there is not an ongoing struggle for good people to
do the right thing. Please visit, local chapters of
your American Culinary Federation Chapter, or the New Orleans ACF to
see how we can give back to our community.

OK�so I started the babbles in the last Chef's Office newsletter
about New Orleans�.Cheffy sez�

"�The impact of this cuisine goes so much further than blackened
redfish or crawfish etouffee. Although the cuisines of such places as
any of the Brennan's establishments and Emeril's are truly great
experiences, subjectively, the true experience of New Orleans is
witnessing the true cuisines of the land, the food that has been
there for hundreds of years and is in and of itself one of the
greatest melds of cuisines internationally, from Jamaica to Nova
Scotia and all of the other cultures that were melded in between,
from oyster po' boys to crawfish etouffee over dirty rice to a
million variations of true Cajun "street food" to beignets and a good
cup of coffee at Café DuMonde. THIS IS NEW ORLEANS!!!, not a
blackened chicken sandwich with spicy curly fries at the Hard Rock

Is the system that America has known as Cajun/Creole/Acadian food
been destroyed? I tend to believe it has not. The talent that New
Orleans and the surrounding bayou areas possessed, for the most part
anyway, has been re-located or is in the process of re-locating/re-
establishing their lives and the art that these men and women
expressed there are going to be shared with the rest of the
continent/hemisphere/world. Thank goodness�."Chef's Office-Oct. 2005

***chefmike note: It is pretty sad when we realize that almost a
thousand food service establishments in New Orleans will not re-open,
never mind the people that lost their lives, livelihoods, and homes.
What an impact. It is not too late to give to a charity of your
choice to improve the quality of life.

A good chef buddy of mine, Chef Keith continues with his insight:

Mike, Good article! It got my brain thinking a little bit about the
culinary talent and future of "Nawlins" cuisine.

Cajun/Creole is most definitely Americas most predominant regional
cuisine bar none. The rich historical melting pot of cultural
influences over the last several hundred years has virtually
guaranteed its own survival. These millions of people who are a
living part of this society-even relocated, are still very much
responsible for carrying on its future.

Cooks didn't forget how to cook it, folks didn't forget how to eat it-
and the lifestyle of the region will persist through any crisis. It
is, after all, events like this that cause changes in the history and
influences of cuisine in general. My own opinion on how these changes
will effect our favorite regional cuisine is that New Orleans will
always remain the epicenter, hence the creator- of this style of

But the major change is that it now has had a ripple effect
outward...inland with the influx of people relocating and starting
their lives over in the South! Cities like Houston TX, Jackson MS and
Montgomery AL have all suddenly jumped an index in Cajun/Creole
influences-thus actually spreading this cuisine further and melting
it down more...a further reduction if you will, of your favorite
fusion techniques. Possibly spreading as far as Dallas TX, Memphis TN
or Atlanta GA these areas have all been recently sprayed with the
incoming residents of the region.

Instead of some cooks making the "Meccan" journey to New Orleans...I
see Nawlin's coming to our town instead. It will be very interesting
indeed to see what happens when these techniques are fused with new
local ingredients spawning a new varietals of Cajun/Creole cuisine.
Get ready for the Blackened Georgia Peach Trifle and the Memphis
Spare Rib Jambalaya!!! New restaurants will be popping up in our
cities with the timeless flare of Nawlins-

Just watch!

Amen Keith�

My heart goes out to all that have been affected by this tragedy.

Chef Michael Hayes

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