Poppy Tooker is a native New Orleanian who has spent her life immersed in the vibrant colors and flavors of her state.
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 founded the Slow Food New Orleans Chapter in 1999 creating one of the first 10 chapters in the United States and served at the International level with awards of distinction.
With her motto, “Eat It To Save It”, as a culinary activist, Poppy has been instrumental in reviving endangered local foods such as Creole cream cheese and rice calas. She’s been instrumental in the success of the Crescent City Farmers Market both as leader and friend. She 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.
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.
Before the opportunity came to share her unique voice through her Louisiana Eats! radio show, Poppy brought “Eat It To Save It” to life as a television pilot. That show remains a dream. For a taste, click here.