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Jul 5, 201209:37 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

Two Memoirs and Everything You Want to Know About Coffee but Were Afraid to Ask

Duck Crostini at Merchant

Photo by Robert Peyton

This Saturday, July 7th, Dominique Macquet will host chef Jeff Henderson at Tamarind for a dinner and signing of Henderson's memoir, Cooked. The press release has the information you need; it reads in part:

As part of the city’s annual Essence Festival, New York Times bestselling author and motivational speaker Chef Jeff Henderson will travel from Las Vegas to cook some of his down home Deep South dishes Saturday evening alongside his friend Chef Dominique

Macquet at his French-Vietnamese eatery Tamarind in The Hotel Modern.

Though Henderson, who speaks and writes about his life of adolescent crime leading to ten years in prison, hails from Los Angeles, both of his parents moved there from New Orleans. In fact, according to Chef Jeff, the foods he’ll be offering along with a book signing at Tamarind will be a tribute to his late grandfather Charles Henderson, who came to New Orleans from Mobile as a teenager to work at a shipyard on the Mississippi River.

“It’s a distinct flavor,” says Henderson, who is scheduled to be portrayed by Will Smith in a biographical feature film from Sony Pictures. “This is kind of like coming home for me. Even though my professional training is in classical French, my background in Southern food is very apparent. I want this dinner to be down home, back-in-the-day, like when all the family came over after church and the grandparents cooked.”

Henderson, former executive chef at Café Bellagio in Las Vegas (the first African-American to serve in that role), will prepare something he calls “Southern bouillabaisse.” In New Orleans, it would more typically be called seafood gumbo, complete with shrimp, blue crab, smoked sausage, okra, tomato and a “brown gumbo broth.” This will be served with black pepper biscuits. He’ll also be cooking Southern fried chicken with creamed corn.

In other news involving chefs with inspirational memoirs, on Friday, July 20th, chef John Besh will host chef Marcus Samuelsson for a dinner honoring Leah Chase at Restaurant August. Samuelsson will also be signing copies of his memoir, Yes, Chef, at the Metairie location of Whole Foods Market earlier that day. Here's a portion of the release I received about the dinner:

Chef Samuelsson and Chef Besh will blend their own distinctive culinary styles to honor Chef Leah Chase, who Marcus names as a mentor in Yes, Chef. The four course prix-fixe menu will include dishes such as Gravlax on Pumpernickle and Louisiana Popcorn Rice with Stewed Okra, Heirloom Tomatoes and Gulf Shrimp. 

Time: 6pm-9pm

Address: August restaurant, 301 Tchoupitoulas Street New Orleans, LA 70130

Reservations: $200 per person, including tax, gratuity and a signed copy of Yes, Chef. For reservations, guests can call Christy Bradley at 504.565.5482 or email cbradley@chefjohnbesh.com

Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden. He first came to prominence at the New York restaurant Aquavit, and now runs Red Rooster and Ginny's Supper Club, both in New York. He's appeared on a number of television shows and has authored multiple cookbooks. His pairing with Besh should make for an interesting evening of food.

If you're interested in coffee, you might want to check out two upcoming events hosted by downtown restaurants Merchant and Domenica. Merchant has a serious focus on coffee, and is one of the only places in the region where you can get proper illy espresso. In addition to the coffee, Merchant has a small menu of salads, crepes and panini. The restaurant is located in the Maritime building at 800 Common St. A few blocks away at 123 Baronne St. in the Roosevelt Hotel, Chef Alon Shaya turns out regional Italian fare at Domenica, which is another of John Besh's restaurants. Here's what the two places had to say about the marriage of coffee and food:

Merchant and Domenica are teaming up for two nights of coffee-focused events featuring illy Master Barista Giorgio Milos. With unparalleled knowledge in his industry and awarded Master Barista status from the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe, Milos will share his expertise to New Orleans’ coffee enthusiasts on July 9th and 10th with a series of intimate coffee experiences. The first of the two events will feature an educational coffee class at Merchant on Monday, July 9th. Guests can enjoy coffee, wine, and crepes while learning directly from Milos about authentic Italian illy espresso. The second night offers a sit down dinner at Domenica that will highlight Pastry Chef Lisa White’s desserts and Milos’ coffee cocktail pairings on Tuesday, July 10th. Tickets are $100 and include access to both events.

Monday, July 9th
800 Common Street
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Demystifying Coffee with Illy Master Barista, Giorgio Milos
Coffee, wine and crepes will be served

Tuesday, July 10th
123 Baronne Street
7:30 pm - 10:00 pm

Pizza and prosecco dinner featuring dessert and coffee pairings narrated by Giorgio Milos

There you have it folks. Hopefully one of these events will pique your interest.

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Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene


Robert D. Peyton was born at Ochsner Hospital and, apart from four years in Tennessee for college and three years in Baton Rouge for law school, has lived in New Orleans his entire life. He is a strong believer in the importance of food to our local culture and in the importance of our local food culture, generally. He has practiced law since 1994, and began writing about food on his website, www.appetites.us, in 1999. He mainly wrote about partying that year, obviously.

In 2006, New Orleans Magazine named Appetites the best food blog in New Orleans. The choice was made relatively easy due to the fact that Appetites was, at the time, the only food blog in New Orleans.

He began writing the Restaurant Insider column for New Orleans Magazine in 2007 and has been published in St. Charles Avenue, Louisiana Life and New Orleans Homes and Lifestyles magazines. He is the only person he knows personally who has been interviewed in GQ magazine, albeit for calling Alan Richman a nasty name. He is not proud of that, incidentally. (Yes, he is.)

Robert’s maternal grandmother is responsible for his love of good food, and he has never since had fried chicken or homemade biscuits as good as hers. He developed his curiosity about restaurant cooking in part from the venerable PBS cooking show "Great Chefs" and has an extensive collection of cookbooks, many of which do not require coloring, and some of which have not been defaced.

Robert lives in Mid-City with his wife Eve and their three children, and is fond of receiving comments and emails. Please humor him.




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