If you’ve visited New Orleans, you probably enjoy the food as much as we do. While walking around the French Quarter, the smell of freshly-made pralines lured us into The New Orleans School of Cooking and Louisiana General Store at 524 St. Louis Street. We left with Joe’s Stuff seasoning and other Creole and Cajun cooking supplies.
On our recent visit to New Orleans, I decided to take a cooking class at the school. I wanted to see if the instructors could really teach me – not a chef — to make shrimp creole and pralines during a two and a half hour class. I read there was eating involved – so if I didn’t learn to cook — not all would be lost.
Located in a renovated molasses warehouse in the French Quarter, The New Orleans School of Cooking focuses on the unique food and culture of Louisiana and New Orleans.
My class was taught by Chef Anne Leonhard, a native New Orleanian, former kindergarten teacher, and licensed tour guide. She uses her talents from all of those occupations to provide an entertaining, informative and fun history of New Orleans and its food while demonstrating how to make the food.
Anne shared New Orleans food influences from the German immigrants of 1721 who brought sausage making to New Orleans to the Spanish who arrived from the Canary Islands, bringing paella and peppers. Sicilian peasants influenced the cuisine with wine, eggplants and “red gravy” – known elsewhere as tomato sauce. And Chef Paul Prudhomme “invented Cajun food” when he blacked undesirable red fish with cayenne pepper in a cast iron skillet
The school offers open classes daily from 10 am -12:30 pm, with rotating menus of four different items. See schedule here. I attended on Thursday, with the recipes including Corn & Crab Bisque, Shrimp creole, bread pudding and pralines.
The $27 per person cost includes the cooking demonstration, a full meal, coffee and tea, local Abita Beer or Root Beer and recipes for all dishes demonstrated.
The New Orleans School of Cooking also offers 2-hour classes on Fridays and Saturdays from 2pm-4pm featuring 3 food items for $22 per person.
From the recipes provided, if students make the recipes at home, send a photo to the school of their dish, they can get a “diploma.”
Here’s my shrimp creole – delicious, if not quite the same at having it in New Orleans.
I’ve also tried to recreate the corn and crab bisque, and some fall or winter day will try the pralines and/or bread pudding with whiskey sauce.
Five years after Katrina, New Orleans tourism has not completely recovered. Taking a class at The New Orleans School of Cooking is just one of many reasons to visit New Orleans.
If you can’t visit in person, you can buy ingredients from the school online.
Other related New Orleans Posts:
- Video: Up Close with an Alligator in Honey Island Swamp, Louisiana
- 7 Favorites Finds in New Orleans Now
Have you visited New Orleans? What’s did you enjoy most about the city? Please post in comments.
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