On Hogs for the Cause and popping up
Local barbecue legend Rodney Beals has been smoking for his friends and family for years. A longtime member of the Pork Funk All Stars, which participates in the barbecue fundraising festival Hogs for the Cause (www.hogsforthecause.org), Beals launching his own barbecue pop-up, Big Boyz BBQ, in April.
Thiam hosts a dinner March 25 at SoFAB
Senegalese chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Pierre Thiam (www.pierrethiam.com) has been touted as a West African culinary icon. He is the executive chef at acclaimed restaurant NOK by Alara in Lagos, Nigeria, and runs the catering company Pierre Thiam Catering in New York City.
Taco and tequila festival to benefit foster care
Shane Finkelstein owns the Mexican restaurant Nacho Mama's (1000 S. Clearview Parkway, Suite 1016, 504-255-6201; www.nachomamasmexicangrill.com) in Elmwood and organized the inaugural Top Taco New Orleans (www.toptaconola.com) festival. The taco and tequila event at Spanish Plaza March 23 is modeled on a similar festival in Denver, Colorado.
On baking workshops and the benefits of fermented bread
Christina Balzebre served as the bread manager for Link Restaurant Group for several years. Now, she runs the weekend baking pop-up Levee Baking Company (www.leveebakingcompany.tumblr.com) and works in the bread department at Willa Jean.
On cutting down waste and eating "trash" fish
GW Fins executive chef Michael Nelson has been tapped to participate in the James Beard Foundation's annual Boot Camp program, where chefs from around the U.S. discuss and learn food policy and advocacy skills. This year's event focused on waste reduction.
The market opens in a historic building on Loyola Avenue
Amy Chan grew up in restaurants. Her parents founded the first Chinese restaurant on the West Bank in the 1970s.
On the business of baking (and king cakes)
Chaya Conrad opened Bywater Bakery (3624 Dauphine St., 504-336-3336; www.bywaterbakery.com) last month and has been selling creative king cakes. The bakery will add breakfast and lunch service this month.
On making (and drinking) cane syrup
A mechanic by trade, Charles Poirier began making cane syrup for friends and family 14 years ago using his great-great-grandfather's method at his farm in Youngsville, Louisiana. Now, he sells his Poirier's Pure Cane Syrup (www.realcanesyrup.com) to chefs and specialty grocers all over the state.
The actor has worked at Red Fish Grill over the last decade
You might recognize Isaiah "Ike" Jackson Jr. from the HBO series Treme and True Detective, American Horror Story or the movies 12 Years a Slave and Burnt. It's also possible you'll recognize him from Red Fish Grill, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this month, and where Jackson has worked for the past decade as a server, charming customers with his laughter and jovial attitude.
The self-taught baker opens Echo’s, a pizza place in Mid-City
Kate Heller runs Leo's Bread
(www.leosbread.com), a small-batch wholesale and pop-up bakery operation. This summer, Heller and the owners of 1000 Figs will open Echo's, a bakery and pizzeria at 3200 Banks St. Heller spoke to Gambit about dough and the new Mid-City spot.
The New Orleans native on getting into the tequila game
Local entrepreneur Richard Alexander Pomes is co-owner and chief marketing officer of Ghost Tequila (www.ghosttequila.com), but before that he was a brand ambassador for Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. Pomes, a New Orleans native and longtime member of local theater company The NOLA Project, spoke with Gambit about what he learned about liquor and why he got into the tequila game.
On the recently opened local market
Simone Reggie opened the neighborhood grocery Simone's Market (8201 Oak St.; www.simonesmarket.com) on Dec. 23. Reggie previously worked with the John Besh Foundation, where she helped farmers obtain microloans.