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Poppy Tooker

If there’s such a thing as the voice of Louisiana cooking, it may well be Poppy Tooker. As producer and host of the weekly radio show “Louisiana Eats!,” on NPR, Tooker, a New Orleans native, introduces listeners to the edible life of the place she calls home, through the colorful stories of cooks, farmers, and producers. An April broadcast had her talking “mudbugs” (that’s crawfish) and barbecue with fishermen, historians, and chefs.

On local PBS affiliate WYES, Tooker joins a panel of critics and experts on the weekly program Steppin’ Out to dish about what’s new and tasty in New Orleans. And she talked, cooked, styled, and staged food for the PBS documentary New Orleans Food Memories, which won a 2011 Emmy Award.

A former student of famed French chef and teacher Madeleine Kamman, Tooker leads her own lively classes, with an accent on the history of ingredients and culinary traditions. With a keen respect for preserving those traditions, Tooker brought the Slow Food movement to New Orleans, founding a local chapter in 1999. She served as an international governor and chair of the US Slow Food Ark and Presidia Committee, and in 2006 was given the Carlo Petrini Slow Food Leadership Award. Tooker’s motto: “Eat It to Save It.”

Tooker’s Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook was awarded the Eula Mae Dore Tabasco Cookbook Award for historic content, and Cookbook of the Year by New Orleans magazine in 2009. Her most recent book is Louisiana Eats!: The People, Their Food, and Their Stories—highlighting Tooker at her story-telling best.

  • Moveable Feast

    Madame Begue's Stuffed Eggs

    Poppy Tooker’s buttery, spicy stuffed eggs are a tip of the hat to the “late breakfast” served at 19th-century New Orleans restaurant Begue’s. Proprietor Madame Begue offered but one meal…

  • Moveable Feast

    Bartlett Farm, New Orleans (213)

    This episode of Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking takes you on a road trip across Lake Pontchartrain for a Louisiana-style farm dinner.

  • How-To

    How to Make Barbecued Shrimp

    Huge, buttery—but not actually barbecued—shrimp are a deliciously messy New Orleans tradition.

  • Recipe

    New Orleans–Style BBQ Shrimp

    Huge, juicy shrimp dripping with butter, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and spices, this dish is a Crescent City classic. Leave it to eccentric New Orleans; despite the name, there's no barbecue…

  • Recipe

    Creole-Style Shrimp Jambalaya

    A creole-style (red) jambalaya always includes tomatoes. I like using tomato paste instead of canned or fresh tomatoes because it adds deeper flavor and gives the finished dish a rich…

  • Recipe

    Cajun-Style Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

    This is a traditional Cajun-style (brown) jambalaya, chock full of smoked meats with nary a tomato in sight. Although Louisiana-style ingredients are increasingly available these days, it may be difficult…

  • Recipe

    Classic Bananas Foster

    Created at Brennan's restaurant in New Orleans in 1951, this classic dessert was named after loyal customer Richard Foster. Firm, ripe bananas are sautéed in a rum-infused caramel sauce, then…

  • How-To

    How to Make Gumbo

    New Orleans cooking teacher Poppy Tooker shares her secrets for an authentic Creole seafood gumbo. Learn the importance of a good made-from-scratch shrimp stock, how to make a Creole-style brown…

  • How-To

    Get Your Gumbo On

    A New Orleans native shows how to make two authentic versions of this classic Louisiana soup

  • Recipe

    Chicken-Andouille Filé Gumbo

    Do not add filé powder to the entire pot of gumbo. If gumbo is reheated with filé powder in it, the filé will become stringy and unpleasant.