The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

January 30, 2014

2nd annual Taste of New Orleans event set Feb. 22 in Palestine

Staff Reports
Palestine Herald-Press

PALESTINE —

The culinary tastes of Mardi Gras will fill the Palestine Main Street District during A Taste of New Orleans celebration on Saturday, Feb. 22.

This 2nd annual celebration of Louisiana-style cuisine, set against a backdrop of historic buildings decorated for Mardi Gras, showcases the talents of local chefs and highlights the offerings of local wineries.

A Taste of New Orleans begins the culinary tour at 11 a.m. and the festivities continue at various locations until the 5 p.m. start of the Mardi Gras parade. Local chefs will be doing free food demonstrations and samples every 30 minutes, which can be paired with a wine tasting from a local winery.

“We have something very unique in Palestine and that is our local flavor,” City of Palestine Marketing Manager Breezy Lake-Wolfe said. “From the wineries to restaurants and bakeries, and even award-winning chefs, Palestine is definitely becoming a destination for the culinary tourist.

“The Texas State Railroad is now offering dinner trains which are a great way to kick-off a foodie-filled weekend in Palestine. The Taste of New Orleans is an ideal event to showcase our food and wine — especially the culinary talent that lies behind the pine curtain.”

Schedule of food demonstrations by local chefs include:

• 11:15 a.m. — Jack Kraatz, Executive Chef and owner of Bella Sera Ranch: Jack Kraatz is self-taught in the culinary arts after his interest in cooking began as a young man. As the executive chef at Bella Sera Ranch, a premier wedding venue in Palestine, he has a created a diverse menu that specializes in Italian sauces, Texas smokehouse and southern-style cooking. His Savannah Shrimp and Crab Cakes were a crowd pleaser at the 2012 Taste of New Orleans.

Demo located inside Lee Loveless Photography, 101 W. Oak St.

• Noon — Christian Mailloux, Executive Chef and owner of Red Fire Grille: Executive Chef Christian Mailloux, is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and has cooked regional American cuisine from New England to the heartland of Memphis and as far south as St. Thomas U.S.V.I. at prestigious country clubs and boutique restaurants. Red Fire Grille is known for sourcing regional fine ingredients and preparing an evolving menu. Chef Mailloux was recently featured in the 2012 Best Chefs America Book. Chef Christian will be demonstrating Alligator Sauce Piquante over Herbed Rice and a traditional Hurricane Cocktail.

Demo will be in the Redlands Hotel Lobby, 400 N. Queen St.

• 12:45 p.m. — Carmen Santone, Head Chef and co-owner Switch Brick Oven Pizzeria and Wine Bar:

Carmen Santone is a self-taught chef whose Italian roots hail from the southern Italian regions of Calabria and Abruzzi. Trained as a classical pianist, he became a touring musician for pop, rock and funk bands. Chef Carmen traveled extensively as a musician and as a software/hardware marketing director, and was inspired by eclectic restaurants both in and outside the States, encouraging him to switch his focus from music into the culinary arts. Switch Brick Oven Pizzeria and Wine Bar has allowed Carmen to bring authentic Italian dishes, such as Neapolitan-style pizza and pasta dishes, to Palestine. Carmen will be demonstrating Blackened Chicken with Creole Alfredo.

Demo located inside Lee Loveless Photography, 101 W. Oak St.

• 1:30 p.m. — Culinary instructor Michele Merryman: Merryman is a city-girl with a Southern heart that has a need to entertain. Merryman grew up in Houston and graduated from the Dedman School of Hospitality at Florida State University. Upon graduation, she headed for Atlanta, Ga. where she spent many years in the private club industry, and worked for several Fortune 500 companies. Her desire to be around family, led her back to the Lone Star State, and Palestine, where her father is a native son. Since her arrival in Palestine, Merryman has been a guest on FRESH Ideas CBS 19, hosted multiple cooking demonstrations at FRESH in Tyler, is the cooking instructor for O’Sweet Pea’s Kitchen Boutique, a Hospitality instructor at Palestine High School, a private caterer and of course home entertainer. Merryman will demonstrate how to prepare a Mudbug Martini.

Demo located inside O’Sweet Pea, 103 W. Oak St.

• 2:15 p.m. — Chef Simon Webster, chef and owner of Sabor a Pasión Estate and Vineyard and Christine Gardner, Food Editor of the Tyler Morning Telegraph: Webster was born in England, raised in New Zealand and classically trained at the New Zealand Culinary Institute through the City and Guilds of London, apprenticing with some of the finest chefs in the area. His experience in the kitchen spans 40 years and includes chef and developer for 5-star restaurants in New Zealand, chef and food and beverage manager for prestigious wine bars and pubs in London and Manchester, catering consultant for Nestle corporation, first class chef for BMI Airlines and owner of his own restaurant and catering company in Derbyshire, England and now the United States. He opened Sabor a Pasion in 2004, and built it into a restaurant, bed and breakfast, event center, premier wedding venue, catering headquarters and vineyard.

Christine Gardner is the Food Editor for The Tyler Morning Telegraph, host of FRESH Ideas on KYTX-CBS19 and author of the new cookbook, “Favorite FLAVOR.” After graduating with honors from Le Cordon Bleu, she apprenticed with a chef in Sorrento, Italy on the picturesque Amalfi Coast. There she learned to utilize the simple techniques and fresh ingredients the Italian culture uses to create delicious, handmade food. You can find Christine’s articles, recipes and videos every Wednesday in the Tyler Morning Telegraph, at tylerpaper.com, cbs19.tv and on Facebook – Christine Gardner Tyler Paper Food. “Favorite FLAVOR” is available at Texas Art Depot.

Chef Simon will prepare Bourbon Street Bread Pudding and Christine will prepare Maque Choux Pie.

Demo located inside Granny Muffin Wines, 301 W. Oak St.

• 3:15 p.m. — Lulu Dyess, owner/operator of Fork in the Road: Born and raised in Palestine, Dyess has always had a knack for adventure. From her forays at St. Edwards’s University, to Austin’s live music scene, and film festivals in Marfa, you cannot describe Lulu as “stationary.” And so began her adventure: Fork In The Road, which is currently touring the Hill Country spreading the love through food. Fork In The Road has just returned from a culinary adventure in the Big Easy and will be serving up their “Atchafalaya Jambalaya” and homemade “Cracklins.”

Demo located inside Lee Loveless Photography, 101 W. Oak St.

• 4 p.m. — Chef James Harp, Executive Chef Denby’s Restaurant and Bar: A culinary graduate from the Art Institute in Houston, Chef James has helped transform Texas landmarks across the state, including the Hotel Fredonia in Nacogdoches. Chef James is highly involved in culinary high school programs across the State of Texas and has judged culinary competitions at the university level. He is well-rounded and versed in all styles of cooking from classic French to modern Southwest Cuisine. As a current member of the Texas Chefs Association, Chef James aspires to become a judge for the American Culinary Federation and to continue to help enrich young people and future chefs in all aspects of the kitchen. Chef James will be preparing two dishes: Seafood Gumbo and a Mini New Potato bowl with Dirty Rice, shredded beef tenderloin and crawfish served with spiced rum creole sauce.

Demo located inside Denby’s Restaurant and Bar, 201 W. Crawford St.

Wine tastings will be provided by Anderson County wineries Granny Muffin Wines, Sweet Dreams Winery, and Texas Vineyard and Smokehaus.

For more information visit www.VisitPalestine.com, www.facebook.com/palestinemainstreet or call the Visitors Center at 903-723-3014.