· 31 March 2011
New Orleans is known to most as the birthplace of Mardi Gras but lesser known festivals, the indigenous Creole cuisine and vivacious locals add to the allure of a place chef Jack Carson proudly calls home.
New Orleans is probably as well known for its culinary scene as it is for its riverboat calliopes and sidewalk tap dancers. Centuries of amalgamation of local Creole flavours have combined with Spanish and French influences to form a truly distinct and recognisable cuisine.
The origins of Jambalaya stemmed from paella and étouffée, one of the most popular Cajun dishes in New Orleans, is a French word for ‘stuffed’ or ‘smothered’. Crawfish is usually the main ingredient and its base is a reddish roux of onions, green peppers and celery (a combination often referred to as the holy trinity).
Gumbo has come to be one of the best examples of the multicultural melting pot that is New Orleans. It is essentially a stew served over rice, but locals would argue that gumbo is almost its own food group.
Excerpt from the April issue of epicure.