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.

Vietnamese New Year was officially Thursday, but the festivities in New Orleans East have just started. The largest of these events is a three-day Tet festival hosted by Mary Queen of Vietnam Church (14001 Dwyer Blvd.) beginning Friday, February 20 at 6:30 p.m.

Drawing in thousands of locals and visitors from across the region, the neighborhood festival features live music, dancing, fireworks and, of course, exceptional Vietnamese cuisine. Food writer Ian McNulty gives Poppy the scoop on what dishes to sample this weekend and why you should arrive with an empty stomach.

It's Carnival time in Louisiana! We'll take you into the secret realm of some of New Orleans' oldest Mardi Gras krewes by visiting Antoine's and Tujague's Restaurants. Antoine's fifth-generation proprietor Rick Blount gives us a tour of the Rex Room, the Proteus Room, the Twelfth Night Room, and the Hermes Bar. Then, Mark Latter of Tujague's shows us the infamous Krewe d'Etat Room, a place of rollicking misbehavior.

In sharp contrast to elaborate parades and krewes of New Orleans, Mardi Gras in Cajun Country is altogether different. From Lafayette, Toby Rodriguez and Lucius Fontenot talk to us about the prairie Mardi Gras traditions that make Acadiana unique.

Also, Robin Young, host of NPR's Here & Now, turns the tables on Poppy with an interview about Mardi Gras food. There's more to it than just King Cake!

Allons au Mardi Gras!

For the past twenty years Dana Cowin has been Food & Wine's editor in chief, but has keep a secret from her readers. Despite being surrounded by food nearly every single day, she never learned how to cook. But with the help of her friends, many of them famous celebrity chefs, Dana has mastered her mistakes in the kitchen and learned some invaluable life skills along the way. 

We're also joined by Tony Abu-Ganim, one of the world's leading mixologists. He's seen the profession go from being a secondary job to a respected career during his 30 years behind the bar and joins us to talk about the hardships he's encountered along that journey.

And for a set of bakers with roughly five years of experience on their hands, the crew at Bellegarde Bakery is making quite a name for themselves. We'll join Graison Gill and Brett Guadagnino at their Broadmoor bakery for an early morning baking session.  

Plus Ian McNulty and Chris Jay both join us for reports from the road

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.

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