“My joy in life is to bring the story of Louisiana to the world.” Chef John Folse
Chef John Folse exudes and exemplifies the hospitality of New Orleans. Growing up in a Cajun cabin in the swamplands of Louisiana, Chef Folse learned how to cook and appreciate the importance of sustainable sourcing through the “swamp floor pantry.” His passion for sharing “Louisiana’s cornucopia of richness” featuring cuisine and culture is truly inspirational. Recently, I had the honor of interviewing Chef John Folse at his Restaurant R’evolution. We sat at a table in the Storyville Parlor which depicts the fascinating story of New Orleans via murals and portraits of the “seven nations who came together during the course of 100 years to create a culture and cuisine so unique to the world.”
The word “Creole” is the basis of the word “Crayola” which signifies a broad array of colors. Creole Turtle Soup is a literal example of the melting pot of Louisiana, where several nations each contributed to the special taste of New Orleans. Chef John’s famous recipe for Creole Turtle Soup is painted on the mirror in R’evolution. As he explains, “Turtle Soup originated in England as a clear broth with the essence of the meat to create a bouillon. When this bouillon was brought to Louisiana during the 1700s, the French added the dark brown roux. The Spanish added spices – the onions, celery and bell peppers. The Indians added the wild sassafras. Eventually this great soup became more like a stew where it emerged from the French kitchen pots in New Orleans.”
Chef John Folse showcases the tastes of Louisiana at his White Oak Plantation including heirloom hogs and chickens, seven gardens to represent the seven nations, 25 varieties of figs and many other ingredients that inspire chefs. “It’s a great living testimony to the foods that these people brought.”
You, too can enjoy the tastes of New Orleans at home. Chef John Folse recommends these items for your pantry and refrigerator:
- Hot Sauce. Hot sauce is a condiment that you find in New Orleans to sprinkle in your gumbo or other dishes to accentuate the flavor.
- Smoked Meat. A true taste of New Orleans is the smoked meat, such as andouille sausage whether beef or pork.
- The Trinity of Spices. Onion, celery, and bell peppers (and maybe a few other spices) sautéed together in a cast iron pot.
What are your favorite flavors of New Orleans?
Savor the day!