3-course interview: Amy Chan with Pythian Market

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.

3-course interview: Chaya Conrad of Bywater Bakery

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.

3-course interview: Charles Poirier, sugarcane farmer and syrup distiller

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.

3-course interview: Isaiah “Ike” Jackson Jr., server and actor

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.

3-course interview: Kate Heller of Leo’s Bread

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.

3-course interview: Ghost Tequila’s Richard Alexander Pomes

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.

3-course interview: Simone Reggie of Simone’s Market

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.

3-course interview: Tracey Armitage pops up with La Monita

The chef on her Colombian-inspired pop-up
After spending several years in Colombia, Tracey Armitage moved to New Orleans and started the Colombian-inspired pop-up La Monita (www.facebook.com/lamonitapopup) this fall. She's been popping up at The Tchoup Yard, Aline Street Beer Garden and Hollygrove Market and plans to expand the operation next year.

3-course interview: Chef Jess Bourgeois of Lula Restaurant-Distillery

The chef opens a combined restaurant-distillery on St. Charles Avenue.
Jess Bourgeois and his business partner Bear Caffery will open their microdistillery and restaurant Lula Restaurant-Distillery (1532 St. Charles Ave.; www.lulanola.com) in January. The 10,000 square-foot restaurant will serve Southern-inspired cuisine and drink pairings from a draught cocktail system.

3-course interview: chef and spice purveyor Lior Lev Sercaz

The author of The Spice Companion: A Guide to the World of Spices hosts a Shaya dinner Dec. 6
At his New York store La Boite (www.leboiteny.com), Lior Lev Sercarz sells custom spice blends to chefs and home cooks. After training with chef Olivier Roellinger in Cancale, France, Sercarz worked at New York's Daniel before opening his spice shop in 2006.

3-course interview: Nicole Eiden, Windowsill Pies baker

Nicole Eiden (pictured left) and her business partner Marielle Dupre started the pie-making business Windowsill Pies (www.windowsillpiesnola.com) five years ago. After winning both the Junior League of New Orleans' Woman Entrepreneur Fellowship, and a $10,000 prize on the Cooking Channel's Sugar Showdown, the duo is ready to open a shop.

3-course interview: tamale vendor Holly Hawthorne

“Holly Tamale” on her family’s recipe and selling tamales from a bicycle cart
Chances are if you've spent some time at downtown bars during the past 10 years, you've run into Holly Hawthorne. Better known as Holly Tamale, she's the woman with the pin-up hair and flashy getups biking around a hot pink tamale cart.


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