Now as a complete departure, we enter into what can only be described as a “Gone with the Wind” moment. Mint juleps on a silver tray, a refined gentleman to escort us for a tour of the mansion and grounds, and we are educated on the history of this cotton plantation in Sunset, Louisiana. Civil wars were fought on this site and the front door still bears a battle scar. Again, a photographer’s dream as the light is getting a little lower in the sky. Time, I just wish that I had more time but these are the parameters of the project. So, no mint julep for me … it’s shooting time.
This has been a long day and the drive takes us a little longer than planned so the light is getting low when we arrive at White Oak Plantation in Baton Rouge, LA. Chef John Folse has planned a Fête de Boucherie.
Before we lose the light I capture some shots of the group and the grounds and food presentation. This is frustrating as I’m left just craving one more hour of light to document this beautiful display. While the lighting is far from ideal, I’m able to capture the essence of the evening and Chef extends an invitation to come back in the future. I may have to take him up on this.
an expert on Louisiana history, leads our trip to the first stop at Tony’s Seafood. He explains that before the civil rights movement, dining while traveling by train was a challenge for black people. Although white train passengers were served in dining cars, Jim Crow laws barred black passengers. Thus, the shoe box lunch, a meal in a box packed before boarding, became common for traveling black families.
So a side note on the “skinning of the fish” shot, I didn’t just take this once, No — I had the stomach clenching opportunity to document this activity twice – so close you could smell it and step in the slick surface from the operation. And, that is because I smiled … yes there are times when a smile is not the answer and this was one of those times. It was very noisy at Tony’s Seafood, with orders being placed, and people everywhere and the motors in the refrigerators humming loudly. When this very proud fishmonger asked me something, as my stomach was turning over from the first episode of “how to clean a fish” … I just smiled because I couldn’t hear him and I was trying desperately not to throw up … and then voila’ before I knew what was happening … another fish, another hook, the knife and well you get the idea … No More Smiling!!!
Nannette will you document a group of the worlds top chefs and F&B directors while we take them on a trip to the Louisiana Bayou country?
Flavor Forays is the creation of Barbara Mathias, former publisher of Food Arts magazine and Beverly Stephen, former executive editor of Food Arts magazine.
We are planning a food immersion and intend to meet the characters, the farmers, the fishermen, the producers and the cooks who make the Bayou country one of the richest culinary areas in the United States.
Purloo – SoFAB
Honestly, they had me at the word Bayou … the sultry air, flavorful food and characters that come to mind will make this a priority on my calendar. But the addition of boudin, Bourbon and even alligator make it impossible to say no. As a long-time vegetarian, I may not want to taste it, but I know that I will want to photograph it … and I’ve always said that bacon will break me one day!
We arrive October 12, a day before our guests arrive, to make any last minute preparations and to share some time with Liz Williams at the new location of SoFAB (Southern Food and Beverage Museum.)
We had a rather surreal experience to begin this project focused on food and the cross over of cultures. While walking through the Quarter we found ourselves joining the second line March for Chef Paul Prudhomme. Members of the restaurant business and other local dignitaries gathered at St. Louis Cathedral Monday for the funeral of Chef Paul Prudhomme.
”I was struck by the reactions to my food from people all over the country,” he said. ”I began to understand how unique the traditional foods of my family were. I came to realize that the joy of cooking Cajun and Creole food was not just that I appreciated its goodness so much, but that there was this great pleasure I got from watching other people eat it and seeing the joy in their eyes.”
Following the funeral mass, a procession and second line went from the Cathedral to K-Paul’s restaurant.