The State of Louisiana is rich in cultural heritage and New Orleans is the state’s gastronomic epicenter, known for Southern cooking such as Creole, Cajun, Jambalaya and Beignets, a famous pastry in New Orleans. Creole and Cajun dishes are considered the legendary staple of Southern cooking and the regional cuisine of the entire state. People visit Louisiana and New Orleans to learn the secrets of the authentic Creole and Cajun recipes from Louisiana and New Orleans’ professional and true-blue Southern cooking chefs. New Orleans’ rich culinary heritage has become an important part of the travel experience for most people who get to visit New Orleans.
In order to tap into the rich culinary culture, several cooking schools were established and even short-term cooking classes state-wide and in New Orleans regularly conducted for people from all over the world who come to New Orleans to savor the rich culture and satisfy their taste buds. In the end, some visitors would be overly eager to learn the authentic New Orleans recipes that they would attend short-term cooking classes taught by professional New Orleans resident chefs. For those staying in New Orleans longer, joining a typical cooking school will be more preferred. Cooking schools offer personalized group, special events and private classes integrated into a holiday tour, focusing on Creole and Cajun, Gumbo and Jambalaya cooking with New Orleans’ best chefs at the helm.
New Orleans Creole and Cajun History
The area’s rich and abundant supply of home-grown spices and herbs, freshest crabs, crawfish, oysters, shrimp, redfish, speckled trout, crustaceans, lobsters and a host of seafoods, were enough to keep the residents of New Orleans to continuously experiment on their cuisines. They take on old recipes and give them a new flavoring or spice, creating an entirely new delicious meal out of the new concoction. That’s why it’s quite difficult to find a common and same recipe for one dish. Each chef or cook will have his or her own distinct variation on the original recipe say, of Creole or Cajun dish.
Historically, Cajun and Creole trace back their origin from France. Acadia, a French colony which was founded in 1630s was ousted in 1775 when the Canadian Maritime Provinces became under the British control. A large portion of the Acadian colony moved to Louisiana, which back then was a French territory. These Acadians became Cajuns in Louisiana.
Creole on the other hand, applied to descendants of French and Spanish settlers of earlier times. Over time, Creole eventually narrowly refers to native-born Louisianans of French or Spanish descent.
Creole and Cajun Recipes
While both Creole and Cajun recipes share French origin, the master chefs of any New Orleans cooking school will be happy to disclose their main and basic difference. To other chefs who have mastered the recipe through lessons from the many cooking schools in New Orleans, they know that what can make their own version of Creole and Cajun cooking will depend a lot on local food supplies needed for both recipes.
The Creoles were planters and their recipes originated from either France or Spain. Using classic French cooking techniques and integrating the local Louisiana or New Orleans food stuffs, Creole cooking emerged. Creole cooking was further developed in New Orleans and they became characteristically more urbane and cross-cultural as French, Spanish and other European and African cooking were deliciously integrated. In essence, Creole dishes are distinctly known for their rich sauces. Some of the popular Creole recipes are “Shrimp Creole”, “Grillades and Grits”.
The Acadians or Cajuns were tough people who are not new to hard living. Their distinct Cajun food recipes are basically prepared from ingredients which are available in New Orleans. Cajun cuisine is peppery and pungent and cooked in a single pot. In addition, Cajun cuisine is heavy on seafood concoctions which include “Jambalaya” and “Crawfish Etouffée”.
Both cuisines are distinct in their taste and way of cooking. However, there are some commonalities such as rice being the staple food for both Creole and Cajun recipes; some common seafoods ingredients are river or lake shrimp, crawfish, crabs, fresh- and salt-water fish, oysters, wild turkeys, frogs, squirrels, ducks, pork , turtles, homemade sausages, all kinds of beans, yams, okra, tomatoes, pecans, oranges and brandy, wines and liqueurs.
Cooking Schools in New Orleans
New Orleans’ continuing exemplary culinary traditions rely heavily on genuine chefs and food entrepreneurs of New Orleans or Louisiana who successfully passed on the distinct recipes to food enthusiasts and culinary buffs. These creative and skillful kitchen masters are sharing their expertise in the most genuine and authentic form through various cooking classes, demonstrations and hosting events which are all common to both places. Some of the famous and notable cooking schools in New Orleans are In the House, The New Orleans Cooking Experience, The New Orleans School of Cooking, Cookin’ Cajun Cooking School, Savvy Gourmet and Culinaria. Each of these schools offers cooking demonstrations, classes and culinary explorations of authentic New Orleans and Louisiana dishes and recipes.
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