It’s inappropriate to begin a piece each day the same way, but I just can’t get over how much I am enjoying the Ask The Chef segment of the show. There is only one problem that is becoming clear, and that is what we ask the chef.
Presumably they are there to give us tips on making our cooking at home chef-worthy spectacular. But we don’t usually get to that. We have such a great time hearing about the chef and the trajectory getting to where they are that time is usually out before we get to the restaurant kitchen tricks.
Yesterday was no exception. Eric Cook from Gris Gris (Tom’s best new restaurant of 2018) was so full of passion for his life and craft that it nearly burned up the digital signal, if there is such a thing. I was riveted by his tales of kitchen life, of being self taught, and of picking up great cooking skills from relatives, as well as a sense of mindfulness of place.
As for chef tips, we briefly touched on spices when I asked about tarragon. He mentioned using blueberries with lemon and thyme, and tarragon with fruit in general. We didn’t get to explore this enough.
The recipe below is from his grandmother, Mamere, and it reads like everything that should be in every pot in Louisiana. It was no surprise that he is a cast iron fan. Eric Cook is about food that tastes great, and about the emotion that great food evokes. And about the people that make it and serve it to the people they love.
I hope this guy can slow down some time to write a book. Pre-order now.
Obviously I’m not the only one who finds Eric Cook fascinating. He takes Gordon Ramsey through Louisiana’s bayous for the new NatGeo series Uncharted, which airs Sunday June 21st at 10pm on National Geographic. He’ll be back on the radio with us on the 17th to talk about that.
We can’t wait for the interview, the NatGeo show, and a chance to cook Mamere’s Chicken, below:
Memere's Chicken and Gravy
Chef Eric Cook, Gris-Gris
1 4-5 lb chicken, cut up
2 tablespoons butter
2 large onions, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
8 cups water
1/2 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper to taste
Salt and pepper chicken. Melt butter in Dutch oven on medium heat. Brown chicken; remove from pot. Add flour to pot and stir continuously until golden brown. Add onions, bell pepper and celery; sauté until soft. Add bay leaves and thyme. Slowly stir water into flour mixture. Add parsley and garlic. Put chicken back into pot and reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until chicken is tender and gravy thickens, about 1.5 to 2 hours.