meet-the-chefs

Anne Leonhard

Where did you learn how to cook?

In my grandmother’s kitchen 

What is your favorite dish to cook?

Gumbo-hands down

If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?

Crawfish- at a boil

What would be your last meal?

K-Paul’s barbecue shrimp, shrimp and crawfish étouffée- and a pitstop beforehand at Drago’s for char broiled oysters. 

Then I could go out with a smile on my face!

What cooking tool could you not cook without?

I couldn’t do anything without a wooden spoon and a whisk. 

What are five things that are always in your fridge?

butter, butter, butter, butter and more butter

Why do you like to cook?

It pleases me to feed people, especially to watch my grandchildren eat and go back for seconds!

What is the worst cooking mistake you have ever made?

When I was first married, I tired making a dessert called zabaglione. It called for adding the eggs slowly, but I mistakenly dumped them all in at the same time. They curdled – it was a disaster and 32 family members went our for desert on Thanksgiving.

What is your best food experience?

All of Italy!

 

Reviews

“In addition to being a great cook, Anne was very informative and entertaining. One down to earth and funny lady! Loved her!” -Joann (December 2011)

“Fantastic! Everything was explained perfectly and the tips were excellent. Anne is a legend! I love her cooking and her humor. I really appreciated her historical info too.” – Cassandra (November 2011)

Ed Shedlock

 Favorite dish to cook? 

One of the first dishes I really mastered and made my own was Chicken Enchiladas. This dish has grown, evolved and improved over the 25+ years I’ve been making it. I truly enjoy the evolution of this simple dish and look forward to making it each and every time.

Favorite Spice?

Fresh Garlic. Wait, is that a spice or a vegetable? I’m defining it as a spice – because I can. To me it adds huge amounts of flavor and character to any dish you put it in.

 What do you like to wear when you cook? 

My body runs hot like a diesel, so I try to keep as cool as possible when I’m in a steamy kitchen. I prefer seersucker shorts, a linen shirt and my Vibram Five Finger shoes (yes, those funny “toe shoes”). I know that seersucker has a finite season in fashion, but I wear it all year, so stop whispering about it when I’m not around.

 What are five things that are always in your fridge? 

Bacon, Heavy Cream, Red Onion, Chicken Breast, Quinoa.

 Why do you like to cook? 

I cook to relieve stress, show my creative side and to bring people together for a conversational meal in a comfortable setting. I’m not a very artistic person. I truly wanted to be a beloved Rock Star by this point in my life. But having no talent is singing and/or music prevented that.

 What do you love most about New Orleans (beside the food)?

I’ve heard it said that you can live in any city, but New Orleans is the only city that lives inside you. That essence is hard to put into specific words, but I’ve literally invested blood, sweat and tears into the French Quarter since mid 2005. This city continues to keep me guessing. It’s always changing, always in a state of re-creating itself. It changes course as often as the river that runs through it. And like the river, it runs deep and mysterious.

 What is your favorite New Orleans Restaurant? What do you eat there? 

K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen. To me it represents all the things that I imagined New Orleans cuisine would be. I’ve never had a bad experience there. My favorite dish is the Eggplant Pirogue. It’s never the same preparation any two times, but it is always delicious and satisfying.

Who taught you to cook?  

When I was 16, I started working for school mate’s new catering business. Chef John Szegedi, the owner/chef, inspired me to cook and taught me the basic techniques I still use today. I later worked in various restaurants honing my skills by developing menus and concepts. But mostly, I am self-taught. Trial. Error. Success. That’s a great recipe.

What kind of music do you listen to when you cook? 

When I cook at home, my kitchen is filled with loud, basic, screaming, three-chord Rock & Roll. Yeah, yeah, I know that New Orleans has a proud history of Jazz, Brass Bands and the Blues. But Rock & Roll has always stirred my soul and moved me to be creative.

 Best Food Experience?

I can recall sitting out on the second floor balcony of K-Paul’s in October of 2006. There was a breeze blowing, a Brass Band playing on the street below, the smell of roasting garlic filled the air. The meal was incredible, the Bourbon was smooth and the night was perfect. I can still taste the Sazerac. Ah….  New Orleans…

 

Harriet Robin

I am a New Orleans girl who speaks New Orleans.

Why do you like to cook?

I love to eat!

What is your favorite dish to cook?

Fried Chicken

What do you love the most about New Orleans (besides the food)?

The people. We have all different types of people here and they all bring something different to the table.

What is your favorite New Orleans Restaurant? What do you eat there?

Muriel’s on Jackson Square. Goat cheese crepes with shrimp or crawfish sauce, pecan crusted puppy drum, double cut pork chops with sweet potatoes and greens- fantastic!

Who taught you how to cook?

My Irish mother, who could cook anything-Creole, Cajun, Italian, French…

What do you like to wear when you cook?

Mingon Faget jewelry and high heels.

What is your best food experience?

Fresh lobsters in New Hampshire

 

Reviews

“So much fun! Harriet is a delight- she could do stand up comedy! Thank you for a wonderful experience” (January 2012)

” I really enjoyed the personal stories Harriet had and she was really funny. Great cooking tips!!!” ( January 2012)

Kevin Belton

Where did you grow up?

New Orleans Baby!

Nickname?

‘Big Kevin’ (Kevin is  a 6’9″  400lbs  ex NFL football player)

What do you love the most about New Orleans (besides the food)?

I love that we totally enjoy life here.

What is your favorite restaurant and what do you like to eat there?

The Ruby Slipper in Mid City  – Breakfast Migas

What is the worst cooking mistake you have ever made?

Years ago, I was boiling eggs and I fell asleep…I woke up to smoke and eggs splattered everywhere. It smelled so bad! To this day, eggs are my least favorite thing to cook.

What are your most proud accomplishments? 

Being a father to my boys is by far my greatest accomplishment, but as a chef I have had some really great opportunities. I have appeared on “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee,” “Wheel of Fortune,”  “Emeril Live,  ” The Food Network’s ” Ready, Set, Cook” and I was able to be a guest clue reader on “Jeopardy.”  I also was a part of a cooking show series in the UK on BBC television titled “Big Kevin, Little Kevin” with renowned British Chef Kevin Woolford  (clearly I was “Big Kevin”). 

What would be your last meal?

Oyster po’boy with butter and pickles

 Best Food Experience

Uglesich

 

Reviews

“Chef Kevin is a natural stand-up comic who is an even better chef. His laid-back style and helpful hints were a treasure, and the food !!! (” TripAdvisor  November 2011)

“Kevin was the chef of the day and he was Entertaining, Talented, Funny, and just generally Wonderful!! The food was “to live for” and my family says it was the best $24.00 that has ever been invested since I haven’t stopped cooking New Orleans style since my return home. This was definitely the biggest highlight in my trip that was full of highlights :-)!!”  (TripAdvisor January 2012)

Michael W. DeVidts

Who taught you how to cook?

My mom from Louisiana who cooked Cajun–Creole foods and a dad of Belgium heritage cooking European haute cuisine. I also learned a lot from my grandparents who owned a restaurant. 

I also studied and assisted under Natalie Dupree and it was through her I was fortunate enough to work with culinary greats like Julia Child, Simone Beck and Florence Lin.

What was your childhood nickname?

“The Professor” because I was always studying and teaching what I learned. 

What do you like the most about being a chef at NOSOC?

I love combining my passions of history and food.  I have a masters degree from Tulane in History, and I am also a licensed tour guide. 

Favorite Spice?

Joe’s Stuff for dry and  basil and rosemary for fresh.

What do you wear when you cook?

An apron…only!

What would be your last meal?

BBQ shrimp, my mom’s crawfish étouffée, my partner’s grandmother’s crown rib roast served with Brightson’s sweet potato dirty rice. 

Reviews

“Wow! What an unforgettable afternoon of cooking! Thank you so much for the best interactive event we have ever done! Our group was mesmerized by your infinite knowledge of the city, boundless energy and expertise in the kitchen! It was the highlight of our 3-day conference, and you made it happen for us!” Marriott Global Sales (March 2012)

“My husband and I visited the School of Cooking while we were on our honeymoon and we loved it! Chef Michael gave a great lesson on New Orleans history while he cooked (which my husband loved) and then gave us the recipes for everything he made (which I loved!). He even called my husband up to help make the pralines and bananas foster, everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves and we all had PLENTY of food. Great activity for couples!” (TripAdvisor March 2012)

Pat Hirsch

Favorite Herb?

Thyme

What cooking tool could you not cook without?

Wooden spoons and a good knife.

What do you love the most about New Orleans (beside the food)?

The Mississippi River

If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?

Fried fish or shellfish

What is the worst cooking mistake you have ever made?

I overcooked calves’ liver. Phew!!

What would be your last meal?

Although not yet finalized, it would have to include oysters on the half-shell, possibly turtle soup and the barbecued duck egg roll from Mr. B’s.

Cooking Tips?

If you only use half of an avocado, leave the reed in the other half and cover it tightly. It should not turn brown if you do this.

Also, lemon juice will take the smell of fish or shellfish off your fingers. 

 

Reviews

“Very informative and entertaining… Pat is an absolute delight. I wish she was my neighbor!” – Jean (February 2012)

“Loved it! Pat is terrific!!! Been to many demonstrations over the years- she is the best! – Debbie (February 2012)

Sarah Wood

What is a childhood nickname?

My grown up nickname is Sarah Lee because I am a baker.

Favorite Dish to Cook?

That’s a tough one- any dish that would bring happiness and satisfaction to the person eating it. If I had to pick I would say dessert- I love to make and eat sweet treats.

Favorite Spice?

Salt & Pepper with Cumin & Chili Powder close behind

What do you like to wear when you cook?

Baggy chef pants and a chef coat, and good shoes- always a must.

What cooking tool could you not cook without?

My pink Chef’s knife.

What are five things that are always in your fridge?

Yogurt, milk, fruits, veggies, and butter of course.

Why do you like to cook?

I’ve always loved cooking- even as a small child. I find it fun and sometimes relaxing. And nothing is better than seeing people enjoy what you’ve worked hard to prepare.

Who taught you how to cook?

Growing up my family but then I went to culinary school to get the professional training.

What would be your last meal?

I love this question and ask it to people all the time. Mine would be simple and abundant- steak, Mac & cheese, biscuits, and warm chocolate chip cookies. All low calorie of course!

Best restaurant experience:

Spagos in Las Vegas for my 30th birthday. It was a surprise birthday treat with VIP treatment- the whole 9 yards including special desserts!

Saundra Green

“I put the Creole in Creole food.”

 Who taught you how to cook?

 Grandmother (Grand-mere) and Aunt Alma

What  was your childhood nickname?

 Sunny

What cooking tool could you not cook without:

Cast iron pots and wooden spoons

What would be your last meal?

Seafood Gumbo, Crawfish Etouffee, Bananas Foster and wine

What kind of music do you listen to when you cook:

 Brass bands jazz

What is the worst cooking mistake you have ever made:

I burnt the roux- oh it makes an awful smell!

 

Reviews

“Excellent!! Saundra gave us history as well as a great cooking lesson. I’m a native New Orleanian, yet I enjoyed this experience very much. I will recommend this cooking school to anyone.”  (December 2011)

“Outstanding!!! Saundra was an amazing orator, presenter, historian, entertainer, personality and cook!! This was the highlight of our New Orleans experience. The love and family closeness amongst the staff was evident and that added a great deal to the culinary experience. We left FULL in every way.” -Diane (November 2011)

Tom Nagelin

 

Where did you grow up?

Although I was not born in New Orleans, I got here as soon as I could.  I was born in Santa Monica, CA and grew up in California, Florida and Hawaii. Thanks to my 34 years of service in the U.S. Navy as a fighter pilot, I have traveled extensively throughout the entire United States and I have spent time visiting more than 250 American cities and towns. When I finally decided to make New Orleans my home, it was my deep appreciation for the history, culture and cuisine of Louisiana that made me want to become a licensed Tour Guide. I love to cook and tell the story of the people of Louisiana.

What is you favorite dish to cook?

Gumbo is my favorite dish to prepare, because as I add each ingredient, it reminds me of the many cultures and rich history that make New Orleans so unique and very special.

What is your favorite New Orleans Restaurant? What do you eat there?

 K-Pauls Louisiana Kitchen- Everything

Who taught you how to cook?

My father

Favorite Spice:

Pepper

 What are five things that are always in your fridge:

 Butter, Eggs, Chicken Base, Trinity Vegetables, Andouille.

 What do you love the most about New Orleans (besides the food):

 Our people, their culture, history, architecture music and the laissez fare attitude.

Eat with Joe's!