Looking Forward to 2005 Food Technologists Conference

Editor David Feder looks forward to a tasteful Institute of Food Technologists conference in New Orleans.

By David Feder, Editor

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New Orleans! The Crescent City, the Big Easy, the Paris of the Americas and America's International City…what other town in the U.S. merits a host of glowing nicknames? And merit them New Orleans does. As I gear up to roll into this magic Mississippi River metropolis for the umpteenth visit - this time for the Institute of Food Technologists' annual conference - the flavors of NOla are calling.

New Orleans is the pater familias of three cuisine forces: restaurants, fusion and the embrace of local food culture. Some of the oldest restaurants in the country are still operating there. Two that come to mind are Antoine's, the oldest family-run place in America (established 1840) and the second oldest restaurant in the nation and Café Du Monde, established in the 1770s-era French Market over 140 years ago.

As a crossroads of commerce in the New World for more than 300 years, New Orleans collected French, Spanish, African, Native American and other food influences and turned them into a fusion culture of food unrivaled anywhere in the country. The borrowing of Asian or Latin influences that we call fusion today pales compared to the jambalaya that is Southern cuisine. Our own Diane Toops explains it all in "Cajun Comes Back," page 10. And, with generous contribution from the inimitable and indefatigable Paul Prudhomme, she also reveals how his K-Paul’s restaurant was a birthplace of the "back to our roots" movement of chefs seeking local answers to the global question of where food trends are heading. Check out "Perfect Blend" on page 16.

Also in this issue, Chef Robert Dahni zeros in on that core ingredient of the “Holy Trinity” in Cajun cuisine, the onion (“Culinary Arts: Art of the Onion,” page 9) and Brian Yager, corporate chef for Archer Daniels Midland Co. shares his technique for solving a chili mix problem (“Techniques: Beans in the Bag,” page 20).

Laissez les bon temps roulez!

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