Back To Basics

Written by Mary Leigh Fitzmorris May 21, 2020 12:00 in On The Radio

Greg Piccolo was one of the hot chefs in the Eighties heyday of New Orleans Contemporary Creole Cuisine. Flagon’s Geautreau’s, Clancy’s, and Mr. B’s were no more talked-about than the Bistro at Maison de Ville. A tiny luxury boutique hotel, this hotel restaurant was a true “it” place. Cozy and tucked away with great food, everyone wanted this reservation. 

After a succession of big name stars, Greg Piccolo inherited the mantle here, and stayed with it until the end, when a fire snuffed out its cache, and Katrina finished it off. Greg moved on to Redemption, where he turned out spectacular food reminiscent of Redemption’s predecessor Christian’s, with influences of the Bistro. This is a great chef, and he proved his street creds on the Ask The Chef segment of The Food Show.

The purpose of this segment of the show is to get cooking tips for home cooks that need help. Okay, like me. If left to my own device I will roast meat on a spit and have a salad and call it a day.

But this has been really helpful to me and I hope plenty of others, as the chefs have come prepared to help. The theme of a prepared pantry keeps coming up, so I am motivated to get rid of all the ten year-old-things in ours. Yes, I know, but one step at a time. Our refrigerator has just now housed foodstuffs and not just condiments and take-out containers.

Greg was particularly helpful by guiding us through Asian-flavored spices and French herbs, but mostly we were intrigued by his mother’s fried chicken recipe, which is so simple it worked for the radio. And it is so simple it can’t possibly be good, right?

He claims and I believe him (because I think simple is best) that he has used this simple recipe everywhere, and gets rave reviews.

It is this:

Mrs. Piccolo’s Fried Chicken

1 whole fryer cut in pieces


Salt and pepper

A paper bag

Peanut oil

Heat oil in a dutch oven at 375.

Rinse chicken but don’t dry it. Not wet either - damp.

Put flour and salt and pepper in the bag and toss each piece, shaking well.

Drop into the oil. A thigh takes 7-10 minutes to cook, white meat

Less. This seems like a nuanced thing that takes practice. Done when the juices run clear.

We’re going to try this, and his Vichyssoise recipe and his Asian eggplant. And we’ll have him back. He was that good.