A Brief History of New Orleans Cuisine
2018 marks the Big Easy’s 300th birthday. Here’s a look back at some of the city’s famous foods and culinary stars.
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America’s obsession with New Orleans food starts early: Thomas Jefferson plants okra in his Monticello garden and the harvest is used to make “okra soup,” a version of gumbo.
Frenchman Antoine Alciatore opens Antoine’s, the nation’s oldest family-run restaurant. In 1899, his son Jules invents oysters Rockefeller.
The owner of Central Grocery, an Italian market in the French Quarter, comes up with an easy way for Sicilian farmers to eat their lunch of meat, cheese and olive salad: He piles it all on muffuletta bread, creating the now-famous sandwich.
Laura’s Candies, New Orleans’s oldest sweets shop, opens. Locals and visitors still flock there for Louisiana’s signature confection: the praline.
Leah Chase, the future queen of Creole cuisine, is born. At 94 years old, she still runs the kitchen at her renowned restaurant Dooky Chase.
Brothers Clovis and Bennie Martin create the po’boy sandwich as a cheap way to feed hundreds of striking streetcar workers.
New Orleans chef and author Lena Richard becomes the first African-American woman to host her own TV cooking show.
To honor Richard Foster’s appointment as chairman of the city’s Crime Commission, Brennan’s restaurant starts serving bananas Foster — flambéed bananas with vanilla ice cream.
Chef Paul Prudhomme is hired at the prestigious Commander’s Palace restaurant and introduces the fine-dining crowd to homestyle Cajun cooking.
The beignet — a powdered sugar–coated pillow of fried dough made famous at Café du Monde — is declared the state doughnut.
Bam! The Essence of Emeril premieres on Food Network, turning chef Emeril Lagasse into a household name.
Haydel’s Bakery breaks the world record for largest king cake by making two cakes that encircle the Superdome.
The city’s official cocktail, the rye-based Sazerac, stars in the documentary The New Orleans Sazerac at the Cannes Film Festival.