Texas-style New Orleans culinary tour in Palestine

Published on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 23:32 - Written by Christine Gardner, food@tylerpaper.com

In a couple of weeks we will be celebrating Mardi Gras and some East Texas communities are starting the party early.

This Saturday, Palestine Main Street will be hosting A Taste of New Orleans. A great excuse for all of us to become an honorary Cajun for the day and celebrate the spicy cuisine and party life of our next-door neighbors to the East.

The Caj-un culinary tour will fill the Main Street District from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and showcase some of the culinary talent in Palestine and East Texas. There will also be wine tastings from three of the Palestine wineries.

The cooking will take place inside several Palestine Main Street businesses and is a progressive tasting from eight chefs stationed throughout the Palestine Main Street District. The demonstrations conclude at 5 p.m. and that is when the Mardi Gras parade begins.

The free demonstrations will occur every 30 minutes and samples will be offered to those in attendance. Representatives from local wineries will also be at various locations. Although I hail from Tyler, I was lucky enough to be invited as one of the eight chefs demonstrating at the event.

Schedule of Food Demonstrations:

11:15 a.m.

Savannah Shrimp & Crab Cakes by Jack Kraatz, Chef and Owner Bella Sera Ranch:

Jack Kraatz is self-taught in the culinary arts after his interest in cooking began as a young man. At Bella Sera Ranch, a premier wedding venue in Palestine, he’s created a diverse menu that specializes in Italian sauces, Texas smokehouse and southern-style cooking. Demo located inside Lee Loveless Photography, 101 W. Oak.

12 p.m.

Alligator Sauce Piquante over Herbed Rice and Hurricane Cocktails by Christian Mailloux, Chef and Owner Red Fire Grille:

Christian Mailloux, is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Red Fire Grille is known for sourcing regional ingredients and preparing an evolving menu. Demo will be in the Redlands Hotel Lobby, 400 N. Queen St.

12:45 p.m.

Blackened Chicken with Creole Alfredo by Carmen Santone, Chef and Owner Switch Brick Oven Pizzeria and Wine Bar:

Santone is a self-taught chef whose Italian roots hail from the southern Italian regions of Calabria and Abruzzi. Switch Brick Oven Pizzeria and Wine Bar has allowed Carmen to bring authentic Italian dishes, such as Neapolitan-style pizza and pasta dishes, to Palestine. Demo located inside Lee Loveless Photography, 101 W. Oak

1:30 p.m.

Mudbug Martinis by Michele Merryman, Private Chef & Culinary Instructor:

Ms. Merryman grew up in Houston, Texas and graduated from the Dedman School of Hospitality at Florida State University. Upon graduation, she headed for Atlanta, GA where she spent many years in the private club industry. Since her arrival in Palestine, she’s been a guest on FRESH Ideas, hosted multiple cooking demonstrations at FRESH in Tyler, is the cooking instructor for O’Sweet Pea’s Kitchen Boutique, a Hospitality instructor at Palestine High School and a private caterer. Demo located inside O’Sweet Pea, 103 W. Oak

2:15 p.m.

Bourbon Street Bread Pudding by Simon Webster, Chef and Owner Sabor a Pasión Estate & Vineyard,

Maque Choux Pie by Christine Gardner, Tyler Morning Telegraph Food Editor:

Webster was born in England, raised in New Zealand and classically trained at the New Zealand Culinary Institute through the City and Guilds of London, apprenticing with some of the finest chefs in the area. He opened Sabor a Pasion in 2004, and built it into a restaurant, bed & breakfast, event center, wedding venue, catering headquarters and vineyard.

Ms. Gardner is the Food Editor for the Tyler Morning Telegraph, host of FRESH Ideas on CBS19 and author of the new cookbook, “Favorite FLAVOR.” After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu, she apprenticed with a chef in Sorrento, Italy. You can find her articles, recipes and videos every Wednesday in the Tyler Morning Telegraph, at tylerpaper.com, cbs19.tv and on Facebook – Christine Gardner Tyler Paper Food. The demonstration by Chef Webster and Gardner will be located inside Granny Muffin Wines, 301 W. Oak.

3:15 p.m.

Atchafalaya Jambalaya & Homemade Cracklins by Lulu Dyess, Owner/Operator Fork in the Road:

Born and raised in Palestine, Ms.Dyess has always had a knack for adventure. Her food truck, Fork In The Road, is currently touring the Hill Country. Fork In The Road has just returned from a culinary adventure in the Big Easy. Demo located inside Lee Loveless Photography, 101 W. Oak.

4 p.m.

Seafood Gumbo with Dirty Rice & Shredded Beef Tenderloin & Crawfish with Spiced Rum Creole Sauce by Chef James Harp, Denby’s Restaurant:

A graduate from the Art Institute in Houston, Harp is highly involved in culinary high school programs across the State of Texas and has judged culinary competitions at the university level. He is versed in all styles of cooking from classic French to modern Southwest Cuisine. Demo located inside Denby’s Restaurant & Bar, 201 W. Crawford.

Wine tastings will be provided by Anderson County wineries Granny Muffin Wines, Sweet Dreams Winery, and Texas Vineyard and Smokehaus.

I hope you to see some of you there. You can also look for the recipes in next week’s Mardi Gras edition of FLAVOR.

For more information visit www.visitpalestine.com or call the Palestine Visitors Center at 903-723-3014.

Palestine Main Street District is located along W. Oak Street in downtown Palestine. From Tyler take 155 south to 79 West. Turn right onto 79 West and then left on N. Sycamore. Follow N. Sycamore down to W. Oak. The first stop on the Taste of New Orleans tour is on the corner of W. Oak and N. Sycamore.