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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.

  • Recipe

    Seafood Gumbo

    If you can, buy fresh shrimp with the shells and heads intact. If not, just the shells can be used to make the stock.