Lake Charles is brimming with cultural traditions that are native to Southern Louisiana, which is also home to culinary visionaries who pack those traditions into every meal.
Black businesses and restaurants in the Creole community are built into the fabric of the Lake Charles region where African, French and Spanish influences are deeply-rooted in history and culture. While some of Lake Charles’ Black entrepreneurs have established brick and mortars, others are as inspired to share authentic cuisines and celebrate.
The inaugural Louisiana Food & Wine Festival kicked off a full week of events to shine a light on culinary superstars. BLACK ENTERPRISE witnessed Louisiana’s unique Cajun and Creole heritage and culture through a star-studded celebrity chef’s dinner and a plethora of master classes. The lineup of courses included world-class Louisiana seafood and gumbo.
From TV personality and Chef Tiffany Derry and James Beard Award finalist Greg Gatlin to Chef Roy Angelle, Culinary Arts Instructor for SOWELA Technical Community College, superstars were in the building.
What is the difference between Creole and Cajun Cuisine?
“While Creole food is elaborate to prepare and usually involves tomatoes, Cajuns became trappers, anglers and hunters, living off the land, making their cooking as flavorful and steamy as Louisiana’s summers,” read Visit Lake Charles’ website
“Proper Cajun food does not [use] tomatoes, although, some Cajun food such as sauce piquant does include tomatoes as a key ingredient. Cajuns generally prepare full-bodied or blackened cuisine and Creoles take culinary refuge in their sauces, herbs and intricate spices,”
Prepared by International Chef and Etiquette Coach Carolyn Shelton / Photo Credit: Atiya Jordan
Here are some examples of the cuisine and celebrity chefs that beam with Creole pride.
Tiffany Derry teaching a cooking lesson at the inaugural Louisiana Food & Wine Festival / Photo Credit: Atiya Jordan
Texas native Tiffany Derry is the founder of Tiffany Derry Concepts and co-founder of T2D Concepts, the Texas-based purpose-driven hospitality group behind Roots Chicken Shak and Roots Southern Table. She has made many television appearances, including Bravo’s Top Chef Season 7, earning the title of “fan favorite” and finishing in the top four.
With a warm southern charm, Derry stepped into a master class during the festival to walk us through her famous Fried Shrimp & Grits rolled into little balls. Everything was in the center, including the sharp cheddar cheese, tender shrimp, and other spices. The meal was reminiscent of a crispy shrimp fritter but with a southwest Louisiana flair and a smoky, meaty tomato sauce.
Prepared by Tiffany Derry at the Louisiana Inspired Master Classes / Photo Credit: Atiya Jordan
Photo Credit: Atiya Jordan
Chef Edgar “Dook” Chase, IV teaching a cooking lesson at the inaugural Louisiana Food & Wine Festival / Photo Credit: Katherine Shea Duncan
Le Cordon Bleu-trained Chef Dook served us culinary royalty on a plate at the Celebrity Chef’s Dinner with his Louisiana Blue Crab and Butternut Squash. Cook walked visitors through a delicious gumbo demonstration and paired the dish with a wine of choice or a Stella Artois. The notable chef shared some of his famous Creole family recipes inspired by his renowned grandmother Leah Chase, James Beard Foundation award winner and the “Queen of Creole Cuisine”.
Currently, Chef Dook continues his family legacy by running a Creole restaurant named after Chapter IV as a fourth-generation member of his family, and the restaurant being the fourth restaurant under his operation. Though he trained for a lifetime under his grandmother, Chef Dook told BE that he is constantly learning from others in order to stay abreast of new cooking trends and recipes.
Louisiana Blue Crab and Butternut Squash prepared by Chef Edgar “Dook” Chase IV at the Celebrity Chef’s Dinner / Photo Credit: Atiya Jordan
Gumbo prepared with boudin sausages prepared by Chef Cook at Louisiana Inspired Master Classes / Photo Credit: Atiya Jordan
Photo Credit: Atiya Jordan
Seared Louisiana Gulf Shrimp, with Charred Corn and Pepperjack Grits, Poblano Cream Sauce prepared by Chef Amanda Cusey at the Celebrity Chef’s Dinner / Photo Credit: Atiya
Source: Black Enterprise