Sunday, April 6, 2014

INTRODUCING RUNAWAY FEAST






We have a new concept for you.  We are throwing a party complete with whole hog barbecue, and we want everyone to be there.  It's called Runaway Feast and in the spirit of Runaway Dish, we are bringing together a group of chefs for a one-of-a-kind meal. 

Runaway Feast 
Tuesday April 22, 2014
6pm - 11pm
Downtown Lafayette (exact location revealed to ticket holders only)

Featuring
Toby Rodriguez and Bryan Kyzar of Lache Pas 
Marc Krampe and Clair Burton of Social Southern Table + Bar
Manny Augello of Bread & Circus Provisions
....plus a few more

Music by Cat Head Biscuit Boys and Soul Creole!

$35/ticket - BYOB's (booze and blankets)
Space for dancing and picnicking. 
Casual dining throughout the night. 
Come when you want. Leave when you want.

Benefitting Festival International. Let's keep Festival free y'all!
BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE: RUNAWAY FEAST


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Food Memory

For our second Runaway Dish dinner back in August 2013, we gave our guests an index card and a no. 2 pencil and asked them to write down their greatest food memory as a child. We got a ton of great responses, but our favorite, by far, came from one of our dearest friends, Rien Fertel.


Lucky enough to grow up in a restaurant, I ate luxuriously.  As soon as I was table top high, I’d roam the dining room, scooping whole pats of butter into my face.  My first sentence could well have been “steak, pea, fry” - my standard order.  My childhood diet was not always so....refined:  I was a devoted son of the freezer and microwave.  Hot Pockets, Bagel Bites, Cheese Whiz dumped (still frozen) onto nacho chips, corn dogs.  This was bad food, in retrospect, and I expect that I’ve shortened my life by at least 10 years.  If I have the opportunity to rewrite this card in the distant future - say when I’m 64 - I’d like to think I’d fondly look back on meals with friends and family, weird food I’ve eaten around the world, and my very first bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.


Rien is an accomplished writer and food historian. His favorite food these days is really good bread. And citrus. Last year, Rien received a PhD in history from Tulane University. Visit his website www.rienfertel.com to view his work. And to read more great food memories from our dinner guests, purchase the latest edition of Runaway Dish Journal here.  



To read more great food memories from our dinner guests, purchase the latest edition of Runaway Dish Journal here.  

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Shome Poem for the Weekend

And it was red red red.  And the seasoned skies brought forth the spiced drops of cayenne upon the pompous curled tails. And the shells, scorned and willing and palates full of glowing charcoal, magmatic orange, the plates are at their faults. And here is the gathering of good folk. And there will be watery eyes and tough husks of dirtied corn and the soft touch of speckled potatoes to our tongues. And we thank the mud and we thank the layered ponds. And the slight push of our fingertips and their simple twists, meaning infinity found within a second. And the red red red of it all. And there will be the last sighs of us and heaved breaths after the last turn and peel, and the closed eyes of us.
- Shome Dasgupta

Visit www.shomedome.com and twitter to find more about Shome's work.  His debut novel i am here And You Are Gone is currently available to order on amazon.com.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Meet Your Chef: Pat Waters of Cafe Vermilionville



chef Patrick Waters 
Age 39
Monday, October 20, 2013
2:30pm


Here’s a little known fact - Cafe Vermilionville is open on Mondays. Other little known fact - the chef is a crazy cool New Yorker with a Sicilian mother who has worked at some of the country’s biggest restaurant institutions. We sat in the gorgeous sunlit Cafe Vermilionville dining room after lunch service and got to know one of our new favorite food people. 


My mom is from Sicily so she cooked all the time. She cooked puttanesca, macaroni and red gravy, braciole, any kind of meats. Braised meats, grilled meats. She taught me how to make bread. She was the first person who showed me how to cook.

I was never really a bad kid. Just normal stuff. Mischief. Hawking eggs at cars. We figured out at an early age that if you throw snowballs at Brinks trucks, they can’t stop because it’s an armored car. That was fun.

For my 16th birthday, my dad’s gift to me was a job at Tavern on The Green. I started in a room just cutting onions and lettuce with a plastic knife. And by the time I was 18, I was the youngest saucier that had ever worked there.

I didn’t really want the job at first. I didn’t want to be cutting lettuce and onions with a knife. It was boring. But I guess the chef saw that I had a natural ability and he asked if I ever considered being a chef because he thought I’d make a good one. And with one letter from him, I got into CIA (Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park New York).

I went to Sicily in 1997. I went to the town where my mother grew up, 40 miles west of Palermo. They weren’t the nicest folks to me because I was American, but they gave me a little slack because my mom was from there. It was fun, it was beautiful, and the food was fantastic. It was the year after I finished culinary school so I took a little trip and backpacked by myself. I guess you’re supposed to do that when you’re young.

Because of the movies when I was a kid, I wanted to be a homicide detective. I thought that would be the coolest thing ever. Other than that, I knew I wanted to do something creative, I just wasn’t sure what I was really good at. I’m glad it’s something
that can make me money, you know, instead of being able to make shadow puppets or something.

My first job in New Orleans was at The Pelican Club on Exchange Alley. I was only working during the day and I needed to supplement my income, so I was a strip club DJ in the evenings. It was a place called the Maiden Voyage which is now called the Hustler Club. I’d rather not talk about it. I mean, I was 22.

My first day working at Commander’s Palace
was on Mother’s Day. I poached about 3000 eggs, and still to this day, I just freak out when there’s anything with eggs. I never lose my cool in the kitchen. I don’t yell. I’m not that guy. But I will just start flinging eggs everywhere. It’s my kryptonite. I can’t stand it. If we do serve brunch, I’m never the egg guy. I had my time in the trenches.

Commander’s was like being back in school again. It’s a true French Brigade system. There are a lot of chiefs in the kitchen. A lot of guys you have to answer to. Like in most kitchens, it’s one maybe two. But there - it was like six. It was something else, I’ll say that.

Katrina was awful. Mid City, where I lived, along with the 9th ward pretty much got it the worst. I had 18 feet of water in my house. I was in my attic and finally it got so hot I had to break out of the roof with a hatchet. I was on my roof for 4 days. Everything I had I lost. Eventually I found an inner tube and floated down from Mid City to the French Quarter. And then I was there for another 11 days. So for 15 days all together, I was just kind of hanging out and sweating and starving. I had nothing to eat for those first four days. No food, no water. I wasn’t hungry, I’ll just never forget that unbelievable thirst. 

The whole thing was unbelievable, and it was bad to see New Orleans in that shape. You know, a lot of people helped, yes. But a lot of people did not, which was just sad. Such a small community you would think they would come together. It was exactly the opposite. It was just chaos.

When I came to Cafe Vermilionville five years ago as the sous chef, I was always part of the menu. Since day one, I’ve always been that guy. At first it was a little tough to get some of the things out. My style can be a little out there sometimes. But I tried and I’ve been trying and it seems to be working so far.

We started the Chef’s Canvas about a year and a half ago because we started pumping out specials and they would be great, but they would never make it onto the regular menu. So we figured let’s do a kind of R&D menu and whatever works we can add to the Chef’s Canvas and then we can have the other menu with those classics that will never change.

I married my wife in the Cypress Room right here at Cafe Vermillionville. All we served was champagne and cake. That was it. It was all of our friends and just a bunch of cake and champagne. We went through three cases of champagne in an hour.

My wife’s family is Cajun so she cooks. They all cook. I love it. I’m like... please, yes, cook. Chicken stew, ettoufee, it’s great. I have tried to outdo the Cajun ladies, but it’s hard. I’ve learned not to even try anymore.

I love shepherd’s pie. It’s my favorite thing in the world. It’s got everything. You can’t go wrong with it. Lamb, veal, smashed potatoes, minted English peas....I love that. It’s comfort food. It’s just perfect.

My favorite dish at the restaurant is the Trout Puttanesca. It’s my mom’s recipe, so I love making that because it makes me think of her. She’s no longer here, so every time I get to make it, it’s nice. It’s like a little part of her is here. Even though I fought it for a long time, she did teach me a lot about cooking. I was just being that kid that wanted to be a homicide detective.

One of my huge inspirations has always been Charlie Parker. Always. That’s what really made me cook the way that I do. I’ve never heard anyone fly out of the box like that. Just go over the top and then be able to come back in. I try to bring that to cooking. Go as far out as I can and then still bring in all the tastes together at the end of the plate. I just can’t figure that guy out. And you know, I don’t want to. It’s what keeps me on my toes.

I’m a candy fanatic. Not that I eat it so much. I just hoard it. I hoard it so bad. Right now in my freezer there are gummy colas, gummy cherries, Reeses, Starbursts, about 7 kinds of gelato, a whole block of salted caramel fudge with candied bacon in it. I made that myself. And then some more candied bacon.

Bringing a pan of olive oil caviar spheres to Runaway Dish was the most nerve wracking 15 minutes of my career.

It’s funny because in school they would never tell you to cook down pepper and onions and celery until they are almost mush. Like that is such a no no. I wanted to yell at these Cajun folks at first. I was like what are you doing! And then I’d taste it and be like oh, sorry, I’m so sorry. I’ll just be quiet. 

 

Interview by Katie Culbert   
Photography by Denny Culbert

 Adapted from Runaway Dish Journal Volume 2.  Print issues for sale at Kiki and Genterie or order online line right here through our website.


Pat's Lobster, Watermelon, and Tomato Salad Recipe


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Knock One Back with Genterie




The men behind Genterie Supply Company, Ross Fontenot and John Petersen, know what’s up when it comes to a lot of things. They have curated one of the most unique little men's shop in Lafayette. It’s a place for men's clothes, first and foremost. It’s fancy stuff for not fancy guys. Boots that are tough and sleek. Pants without the pleats. Perfectly crumpled shirts. It’s manly man clothes with style. And beyond clothes, you get the kind of things that only two people like Ross and John could find. Wooden sunglasses. Rugged canvas bags and laptop sleeves. Old books. Old records. Stuff for your bar. Stuff for you bod. Stuff for your beard. Every detail from the fixtures they built themselves to the daily chalkboard quotations to the art on the walls....it’s all a reflection of their personalities and the fact that they are two guys who do know a lot about a lot of things. 


So as successful shopkeepers in Lafayette’s oldest neighborhoods, we had one question on our minds. Where do these guys like to eat and drink downtown? We met up with them at Jefferson Street Pub for $2 Fish Tacos and 2 for 1 Dos Equis (a killer Wednesday night option). The table filled with empty bottles and crumpled napkins and by the end of the night, we got something better than answers. We got the most valuable work of art for anyone living in Lafayette.  It's a map, and it's gold.


Genterie Supply Company is located in the old Tribune building downtown at 210 E. Vermillion Street. Visit their website www.genterie.com and find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/genterie

 Adapted from Runaway Dish Journal Volume 2.  Print issues for sale at Kiki and Genterie or order online line right here through our website.