These are fascinating times for food culture in New Orleans. The years following the Katrina flood have seen much upheaval and loss but also innovation and rebirth. Boosters frequently boast that there are now more restaurants open in the city than there were before the storm, but the food scene in New Orleans encompasses much more than just a number of operational businesses. While the industry is certainly a key component of the city's economic health, New Orleanians consider their cuisine a core component of their familial and civic identity. Meanwhile, spurred by trends in popular culture, more American cities can lay legitimate claim to first-class dining scenes. How do such trends affect the way we think about food in New Orleans? During a time of rapid change, are the elements that make New Orleans unique being preserved? And what innovations are occuring here that continue to set us apart as a world class culinary destination? Our panel of New Orleans food writers and professionals will address these issues as well as other challenges and rewards of cooking and eating in a city long defined by its love of both tradition and creativity.
Todd Price - Freelance writer, featured contributor to the Times-Picayune, former food editor at Offbeat Magazine, columnist at New Orleans Living Magazine, contributor toZagat Survey New Orleans, Fodor's New Orleans, blogger at A Frolic of My Own, author of several local dining guides including a New Orleans' Best Bars iphone app.
Peter Thriffley and Rene Louapre - Food columnists at Offbeat Magazine, authors of popular New Orleans food blog Blackened Out.
Chris Debarr - Chef at Green Goddess, formerly of The Delachaise, long time New Orleans "excitable chef" blogger
Adolfo Garcia - Chef & Owner: RioMar, La Boca, a Mano, Gusto, High Hat Cafe, Ancora Pizzaria. From Chef Garcia's bio, "Growing up in New Orleans, Adolfo Garcia was keenly aware of both the city’s culinary reputation as well as dishes his ancestors enjoyed. His family is Panamanian and they loved to travel and explore other cultures. Garcia studied history at the University of Texas, and chose to pursue his passion for gastronomy. Garcia graduated from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America. After stages in high-end London, Madrid, and NYC restaurants, he returned to New Orleans eight years later inspired to cook from an historical perspective. He was ready to introduce traditional dishes, albeit ones wholly new to the city.
Alex del Castillo - Chef and owner of Taceaux Loceaux Alex and Maribeth Del Castillo are among the pioneers in bringing the gourmet food truck trend to New Orleans and leveraging social media tools like Twitter and Facebook to promote it. They've recently added a permanent location taking over the kitchen at Chickie Wah Wah music club.