Change The Channel, Please

Change The Channel, Please

Reality food TV may be a boon for networks, but what happens to local chefs and restaurants after the cameras stop rolling? On this week's Louisiana Eats, we talk to people who have participated in food TV in its various forms, with varying results.

We begin with Helen Freund, restaurant critic and dining editor at Gambit. Earlier this year, she wrote a front-page article about the positive and negative effects food TV hosts like Gordon Ramsey and Guy Fieri have had on local restaurants. Helen fills us in on what she uncovered.

Then, we hear from Ragnar Karlsson, whose restaurant, the Trolley Stop Cafe, was featured in the season premiere of "Gordon Ramsey's 24 Hours to Hell and Back." Ragnar's plan was to give his family restaurant a much needed boost, but was it worth it? He explains how excruciating the experience could be and explains how unreal reality TV can be.

Finally, Chef Isaac Toups joins us. From his rise to fame on Top Chef to his new series for the Food Network, food TV has been very good to Isaac. Louisiana Eats had the great fortune of chronicling his experiences before, during, and a year after his Top Chef debut. Isaac tells us all about his celebrity transition.

For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.

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The Cookbook Lovers

The Cookbook Lovers

On this week's show, we look at cookbooks as a cultural artifact and biographical portrait. We begin at Kitchen Witch, a store in New Orleans specializing in rare and used cookbooks. With their shop scheduled to close soon, owners Debbie Lindsey and Philipe LaMancusa look back on two decades of business—and some of their biggest sellers.

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Hitting The Books

On this week’s show, we delve into the wonderful world of cookbooks. We begin with Chef Isaac Toups, who collaborated with acclaimed food writer Jennifer Cole on his debut cookbook, Chasing the Gator. The book pulls back the curtain on the new guard of Cajun cooking. Visit our website to hear a full-length Quick Bites podcast with Isaac, which includes a cracklins tasting and a round of Cajun games.

 

Nik Sharma also joins us to discuss Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food, his delicious take on experimental Indian cuisine. 

 

Then, we take a visit to Kitchen Witch, a shop of books for cooks. When Philippe LaMancusa began his career in the restaurant industry back in the Sixties, he quickly learned that the more cookbooks he collected, the more culinary experience he could gain. With 10,000 books now in their collection, Philippe and his partner Debbie Lindsey have found a new home for their books and other collectibles in the Seventh Ward.

 

And we meet Robert Palestina, Executive Director of The Cookbook Project. This New Orleans-based nonprofit works to combat chronic disease by promoting food justice and preserving local foodways.