Poppy Tooker

Host of Louisiana Eats!

Poppy is the host and executive producer of the weekly show, Louisiana Eats! Food personality, culinary teacher and author, Poppy Tooker is passionate about food and the people who bring it to the table.

Poppy provides weekly restaurant commentary on, “Steppin’ Out” (WYES TV). Her book, The Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook received a Tabasco cookbook award and was named “Cookbook of the Year” by New Orleans Magazine.She was recognized by the Times-Picayune as a “Hero of the Storm” for her work reviving New Orleans restaurants and food providers following Hurricane Katrina. The International Association of Cooking Professionals recognized Poppy’s rebuilding efforts at their annual conference in April 2008, with their first ever, Community Service Award.

For over 25 years, Poppy’s cooking classes have centered on history and tradition as well as the food science behind her preparation.

Ways to Connect

Lally Brennan and Poppy Tooker holding up a 2016 Pete Fountain Bobblehead at Commander's Palace.
Joe Shriner

It's Carnival time on Louisiana Eats! On this week's show, we learn about Carnival traditions both public and private, and celebrations both large and small. We begin with a lively discussion about New Orleans' Mardi Gras traditions with Errol Laborde, author of Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival.

Then, we make our way over to Commander's Palace, where Lally Brennan explains the part her family's restaurant plays in fueling Pete Fountain's Half Fast Walking Club on Mardi Gras morning.

Amanda Toups, Isaac Toups & Poppy Tooker at Toups' Meatery.
Joe Shriner

On the cusp of Carnival, the traditional meat celebration before the Lenten fasting begins, we're hosting our very own meat celebration on Louisiana Eats!

Chef Nick Lama, native New Orleanian and third-generation Sicilian, at his restaurant Avo. The Italian word "Avo" translates as "grandfather" or "ancestor".
Courtesy of Avo

On this week's Louisiana Eats, we examine family food traditions from North Louisiana to the most southern tip of the boot!

First, Chef Nick Lama invites us into the kitchen at Avo, an intimate fine-dining restaurant near Audubon Park in Uptown New Orleans. A third-generation Sicilian and native New Orleanian, Nick most recently worked as Chef de Cuisine at Gautreau's, where he won Gambit's Emerging Chef Challenge. Nick gives us a Northern Italian pasta and truffle lesson and shares some insider pasta tips.

Poppy Tooker and Carolyn Simmons, winner of the James Beard Foundation's Better Burger Project, on the patio of Blue in Shreveport.
Chris Jay

On this week's show, we catch up with some of the trailblazers and award winners of the Louisiana food scene and beyond.

Chef Magnus Nilsson at Fäviken in Sweden.
Anders Carlsson / Flickr

On this week's show, we voyage to the Land of the Midnight Sun and explore Nordic culinary traditions. To begin our journey, we visit with Chef Magnus Nilsson, the genius behind Fäviken, a world renowned restaurant in a far-flung farming region of Sweden.

K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen staff photo, 1981.
Courtesy of Frank Brigtsen

Chef Paul Prudhomme changed the American food world forever with his creative, exuberant love for Creole and Cajun food. He was the first American chef to take the reins at Commander's Palace — where the world first had a taste of his culinary genius. He pioneered the now commonplace farm-to-table movement, as he championed Louisiana's farmers and fishermen. As Ella Brennan said, “He had magic in his hands.”

Chef Prudhomme and Chef Frank Brigtsen, passing the skillet outside of Brigtsen's Restaurant, 1986.
Courtesy of Frank Brigtsen

As we reach the end of 2015, we're taking a look back at the triumphs and tragedies of the year past.

2015 was a big year for Louisiana Eats! This June, we celebrated our fifth anniversary on the air, with listeners and friends including the NPR affiliates WWNO, WRKF, KRVS and Red River Radio. We found ourselves traveling across the state, the country and the world, covering topics ranging from substance abuse in the service industry, revelry and tradition at the annual Blackpot Festival in Lafayette, ghosts in the attic at Tujague's Restaurant, seafood innovation on the Gulf Coast and the domestic slave trade in America.

Zdenek Kastanek (center) with fellow 28 Hong Kong Street employees after being awarded "Best International Bar Team" at the 2015 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards.
Tales of the Cocktail / Facebook

On this week's Louisiana Eats!, we examine the lives of five different individuals who have taken long, adventurous journeys, both personally and physically, to reach maturity and a clear sense of purpose.

Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, began the evening of December 6 and ends the evening of December 14.
Quinn Dombrowski / Flickr

On this week's show, we celebrate Hanukkah, the festival of lights, a time when families gather to light the menorah, exchange gifts and feast on traditional foods.

First, we share stories with Rabbi Ed Cohn of Temple Sinai, the spiritual leader of the largest synagogue in Louisiana. Rabbi Cohn tell us about his tenure at Temple Sinai and his favorite Hanukkah food memories.

Chris Jay, bartender Aulden Morgan and Poppy Tooker sample the Carolina Reaper-infused vodka at Zocolo Neighborhood Eatery in Shreveport.
Joe Shriner

It's the holiday season in Louisiana—a time to eat, drink and be merry!

On this week's Louisiana Eats! we're getting ready for the season by planning the ultimate holiday cocktail party. Master mixologist Adam Seger tells us about his craft of pairing cocktails with art and culinary innovations. We also get a chance to taste his newest creation Balsam Amaro — a versatile vermouth unlike any you've ever had.

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