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Poppy Tooker

Poppy Tooker

Host of Louisiana Eats!

Poppy is the host and executive producer of the weekly show, Louisiana Eats! Food personality, culinary teacher and author, Poppy Tooker is passionate about food and the people who bring it to the table.

Poppy provides weekly restaurant commentary on, “Steppin’ Out” (WYES TV). Her book, The Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook received a Tabasco cookbook award and was named “Cookbook of the Year” by New Orleans Magazine.She was recognized by the Times-Picayune as a “Hero of the Storm” for her work reviving New Orleans restaurants and food providers following Hurricane Katrina. The International Association of Cooking Professionals recognized Poppy’s rebuilding efforts at their annual conference in April 2008, with their first ever, Community Service Award.

For over 25 years, Poppy’s cooking classes have centered on history and tradition as well as the food science behind her preparation.

  • This edition of Louisiana Eats takes a look back at the year that was 2021 – its challenges and its losses. Many restaurants and bars have closed their doors in the last two years, but when JoAnn Clevenger announced that New Orleans' beloved Upperline Restaurant would not reopen after initially closing due to the pandemic in March 2020, the entire city reeled with the news. We revisit our conversation with JoAnn from 2016.The future of the English Tea Room & Eatery in Covington seemed in doubt when news broke of owner Tim Lantrip's accident. Hit by a truck while crossing Boston Street in October, for a while it was uncertain if he would recover. Fortunately, his wife Jan, who has also been his business partner for the last 20 years, reports he's making progress every day in his recovery while she and the devoted employees keep the fires burning at the English Tea Room. We revisit a lovely tea we enjoyed with the Lantrips in spring 2021 to remind us all what an important piece of the Northshore their tea room is.And then, we remember Daphne Derven who passed away in October of 2021. A New Orleans resident since 2009, Daphne made her mark on the city's urban farming and agriculture scene before becoming the Curator of Education at the Historic New Orleans Collection where she was instrumental in developing the new children’s education wing at their Royal Street facility.For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.
  • It's the time of year for gathering together family and friends to celebrate all that has been and all that will be. An important element to all those spirited celebrations are the spirits themselves. On this week's show, we look at cocktail culture and mixed drinks perfect for any type of get together.We begin with T. Cole Newton, one of New Orleans' premiere bartenders and bar owners. His book, Cocktail Dive Bar, not only shares recipes from his famed Mid-City hangout Twelve Mile Limit, but also imparts plenty of thoughtful wisdom Cole has garnered from over a decade in business.Then, we learn the story of one of the Crescent City's most charming after-dinner traditions. First-time author Sue Strachan shares her knowledge of Café Brûlot, also the name of her book.And how many bottles does it take to make a bar? Lesley Jacobs Solmonson and David Solmonson, authors of The 12 Bottle Bar, provide advice on holiday entertaining and wise ways to imbibe.For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.
  • Food just tastes better when you know the farmer who grew it, the beekeeper who spun the honey from the hive, or the cottage producer of some delicious new fermentation purchased from your farmers market. On this week's show, we meet them all.We begin at JD Farms in Poplarville, Mississippi, where Donald Van De Werken and Jeff Brown have been growing the biggest, sweetest, best blueberries in the region. Then we visit with Matthew Raiford, self-described CheFarmer who is spreading the good word of his Gullah Geechee heritage through a new book, Bress 'n' Nyam.Finally, we travel to Northern California to visit the apiary of beekeeping guru Spencer Marshall of Marshall's Farms, before meeting New Orleanians Adam Orzechowski and Emily Shoemaker of Farm to Funk Ferments.For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.
  • New Orleans is well known for its legacy restaurant families. And now, just across the Mississippi River in Gretna, the Mandina clan is poised to claim its own place in our culinary pantheon. On this week's show, we meet three generations of family who have made Tony Mandina’s a Westbank culinary institution.We begin with the restaurant’s namesake founder and his wife Grace Blanchard Mandina. Having no prior experience in the business, the couple ran the restaurant with help from members of their extended family. Grace shares stories of some pitfalls and laughs in those early days, when the ragtag team found themselves having to make it up as they went along.The Mandinas’ Sicilian roots make their story a particularly rich and delicious one. We learn about the family's history, which can be traced back to Salaparuta, a town in southwest Sicily. Tony recounts the first time he met his aunts in the Old Country in 1960. Ever since then, the family has maintained a connection to their family across the Atlantic, even forging new relationships with distant cousins, resulting in an import/export business.Tony and Grace's three daughters began working in their parents' restaurant as children. In 2020, middle daughter Kolette Mandina-Ditta took over the reins of Tony Mandina's, along with her daughter Lindsey Marcel. Both of them join us in the studio to discuss growing up in the restaurant, and Kolette describes what motivated her to write "Tony Mandina’s Kitchen," a new book featuring a collection of family history and recipes.For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.
  • Located less than an hour from the New Orleans' French Quarter, Baton Rouge, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, St. Tammany Parish has long been a favorite vacation spot. The allure of piney woods, fresh air, charming historic towns, and delicious food has beckoned visitors for over a century. On this week's show, we take you along with us as we cross Lake Pontchartrain to meet some chefs and restaurateurs on Louisiana's Northshore.
  • In 2011, Jessica Harris wrote “High on the Hog,” a book that traces the origins of African American food. Ten years later, it has become the basis of the hit Netflix docuseries of the same name. On this show, Dr. Harris sheds light on the resilience and inventiveness of Black cooks who shaped American cuisine.
  • Across the Bayou State, people are taking their destiny into their own hands and pursuing entrepreneurial dreams of owning their own business. On this week’s show, we encounter a Louisiana-style cornucopia of self-starters who forged their own path to find success in the sphere of food.We begin with Alfonzo Bolden, who, along with his brother Troy, is co-CEO of Cajun Nation Cajun Seasoning Company, based out of Lafayette. While there's no denying their food talents, Alfonzo and Troy's true genius lies in knowing just when to trademark a name – which for them, often precedes the product concept.Seafood City's famed Al Scramuzza had a product – but needed to create a market for it.Al shares the story of his early role in catalyzing today's crawfish craze.Then, we visit a marketplace that acts as a local incubator for budding food entrepreneurs. We sample the goods at the Pop-Up On Tchoup – a weekly makers market that Rouses hosts on Saturdays at their Uptown New Orleans store.For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at PoppyTooker.com.
  • Whether it's loss due to recent hurricanes or the overwhelming, devastating loss suffered the world over during the pandemic, grief has been an unwelcome guest in many people's lives these days. On this week's show, we take a look at grief, its effects, and the gifts that sometimes accompany it.We begin with Merissa Nathan Gerson, a new New Orleanians whose time here has been gravely marked by the unexpected death of her father. In her new book, "Forget Prayers, Bring Cake" Merissa shares an honest, unwavering look at her life during her year of grieving.
  • Between the levee and the Mississippi River is the batture – a lively slip of wilderness that a tiny community calls home. There's batture land right here in the midst of metropolitan New Orleans – but unless you're lucky enough to know a batture dweller, there's a good chance you weren't aware of one of the city’s most unconventional neighborhoods.That was certainly true of Macon Fry when he arrived in New Orleans in the 1980s. After a chance encounter with a batture resident at a local watering hole, Macon got his first glimpse of life on the river's edge and became so entranced that he built himself a life there. His obsession with the batture ultimately led him to publish his new book, "They Called Us River Rats: The Last Batture Settlement of New Orleans." Macon joins us in the studio to discuss his decades of research about lives spent there in relative obscurity.
  • Back in the early days of television, the Public Broadcasting System blazed the trail in the genre of food TV with the one and only Julia Child, whose series, The French Chef, changed the way Americans cook and eat.On this week’s show, we sit down with PBS's newest sensation, Chef Kevin Belton, whose fourth series, Kevin Belton's Cooking Louisiana, is being aired in homes across the nation. Kevin shares what he learned while shooting his latest venture, which features food from across our delectable state.