Poppy Tooker is a native New Orleanian who has spent her life immersed in the vibrant colors and flavors of her state.
Poppy’s, NPR affiliated radio show, Louisiana Eats!, carries her message state-wide and beyond through weekly on-air broadcasts and through podcasting. The New Orleans Press Club named Louisiana Eats! best radio show of 2014. To listen or subscribe, click here.
In 2013, her radio show inspired her to write her Louisiana Eats! book, which was given the Literary Award of the Year by the Louisiana Library Association. After being tapped to update one of the earliest Louisiana cookbooks, Madame Begue’s Creole Recipes of Old New Orleans Creole Cookery first published in 1900, Poppy went on to continue the story of Begue’s with the recently published Tujague's Cookbook, Creole Recipes and Lore in the Grand New Orleans Tradition. To purchase personalized copies of Poppy’s books, click here.
As a culinary activist, Poppy has been instrumental in reviving endangered local foods such as Creole cream cheese and rice calas (click for recipes). As a leader and a friend, she was a key element in the success of the Crescent City Farmers Market, and even wrote the book! In 2007, Poppy authored the Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook which was given the Eula Mae Dore Tabasco Award for its historical and cultural content.
Her on-camera flair has been on national television alongside celebrities that include Bobby Flay, Andrew Zimmern, Jeff Corwin, Mo Rocca, and even Wynton Marsalis. Click for clips. Poppy also appears weekly on the WYES public television show, Steppin’ Out with spicy food commentary.
Visitors and locals alike savor the opportunity to enjoy many speaking engagements and culinary demonstrations which tie together her passion for the delicious history and recipes of Louisiana’s foods. For upcoming appearances, click here. To book Poppy as a speaker, click here.
She’s a cultural ambassador on a mission. In fact, you can call it destiny. “It has been my lifelong dream to bring my great-grandmother’s favorite saying to life. When I was a little girl, she would never tell me to clean my plate. Instead, she’d say “Poppy, eat it to save it!” This became her life’s mantra, and fueled her desire to work as a culinary activist promoting and preserving food culture and history while safe guarding the planet’s bio-diversity. Poppy brought her motto to life through a television pilot, Eat It To Save It! For a taste, click here.
Poppy founded the Slow Food New Orleans Chapter in 1999 creating one of the first 10 chapters in the United States. She was selected to serve as an International Governor with the movement. Following Hurricane Katrina, Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini awarded Poppy with its first ever leadership award.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Poppy was recognized by the Times Picayune as a "Hero of the Storm”, a story which was nationally told on the Weather Channel. In 2012, Southern Living magazine named Poppy a “Hero of the New South” for her work in foodways. The International Association of Cooking Professionals recognized Poppy’s efforts in April 2008, with their first ever, Community Service Award.