Poppy Tooker

Poppy is the host and executive producer of the weekly show, Louisiana Eats! Food personality, culinary teacher and author, Poppy Tooker is passionate about food and the people who bring it to the table.

Poppy provides weekly restaurant commentary on, “Steppin’ Out” (WYES TV). Her book, The Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook received a Tabasco cookbook award and was named “Cookbook of the Year” by New Orleans Magazine.She was recognized by the Times-Picayune as a “Hero of the Storm” for her work reviving New Orleans restaurants and food providers following Hurricane Katrina. The International Association of Cooking Professionals recognized Poppy’s rebuilding efforts at their annual conference in April 2008, with their first ever, Community Service Award.

For over 25 years, Poppy’s cooking classes have centered on history and tradition as well as the food science behind her preparation.

There were so many different food stories that emerged this past year that we had a hard time narrowing them down to a single hour of programming. Whether it was the Gulotta brothers opening up their own restaurant in Mid-City or a national grocery store returning to the city, there seemed to be new food stories popping up everywhere. It wasn't just local either: one of our favorite chefs traveled to Russia and The New York Times stuck its foot in its mouth

Sadly, we also lost some very good friends of ours. Michael Mizell-Nelson and Rudy Lombard both championed Louisiana's foodways and worked hard to preserve many of our customs and traditions. We'll revisit them one as time before we turn the page to another calendar year.

With so much to do during the holidays and so little time to do it, they often don't feel like "the most wonderful time of the year." But if you pocket a word of wisdom from our guests, perhaps you'll be able to go about the next couple weeks breathing easier. 

Evan McCommon has been converting his family's timber ranch into a biodiverse farm. The changes have been slow, but his resolve steady as the 1,100 acres change from a dense forest to an open savannah. 

The interior of Aaron Sanchez and John Besh’s new restaurant is split into two designs: one that looks like the iconic architecture of New Orleans, and the other is an homage to Sanchez’s vibrant tattooed body. Even though both of these chefs have found success independently, their new collaboration at Johnny Sanchez is having each chef second guess what they took for granted. 

Allen Katz believes that a shot of history in every glass makes for a better cocktail. Allen is co-founder of the New York Distilling Company located in Brooklyn, where he crafts Perry Tot's Navy Strength Gin and Dorothy Parker American Gin.

Taking a cue from America's pre-Prohibition cocktail heritage, Allen has joined the flourishing community of what he describes as "boutique distilleries" that make pure alcohol in small quantities across the country.

It probably won’t surprise you that people who distill, prepare and sell alcohol are generally cheery. But what is it about their job that puts them in such a good mood? Some get to meet new faces every day, while others study the history of their profession, while even fewer teach the trade to apprentices. Whatever the case, they’re all willing to share their knowledge with others and pursue a comprehensive understanding of their profession.

Marvin Allen has tended bar at The Carousel Bar for twelve years and in that time he’s watched the American cocktail enter the mainstream. Marvin has advice about mixing drinks and shares some stories about the lively characters of the French Quarter.

We’ll also speak with three men about their commitment to distilling quality spirits like boutique hibiscus liquor, extra strength gin, and even a multi-million dollar Bourbon operation. We hope these spirited conversations will leave you informed and thirsty.   

Master Distiller Jimmy Russell has been making Wild Turkey Bourbon in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky for 60 years, beginning his unprecedented career in distilling in 1954 at 19 years old. In 2014, he set the record for longest tenured Master Distiller in the industry.

Since most Louisianians are nurtured to embrace an extraverted social life, getting together is second nature to life in the Bayou State. But as often as bombastic parades and revelries help build our communities, spending time over at ya mom’s house is just as important.

On this week’s Louisiana Eats! we’re joined by a group of guests who want nothing more than for you to be comfortable in your own home.

Nancy Vienneau tells us how the monthly gatherings at her house turned her neighbors into friends; David and Lesley Solomonson help build an inexpensive liquor cabinet; and Johnette Downing keeps the kids entertained with upbeat songs about Louisiana cuisine.  

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