Chef Jeff Heard of Heard Dat Kitchen in New Orleans Central City Neighorhood

Tunde Wey has penned a longread on white supremacy in the US (which includes New Orleans in spite of many people claiming we are merely the northernmost outpost of the Caribbean.)

The good cook makes some salient points but he lost us when he included a brief (39 word) paragraph on Jeff Heard’s ‘Heard Dat Kitchen’ located in Central City, right up the road from Turkey and the Wolf.

Wey saved the bulk, 99% of the article, for some heavy words directed at Turkey and the Wolf, Bon Appetit magazine’s recently annointed “Best New Restaurant In The US”

But he did mention that media, of which he is part, would never deign to cover Jeff Heard’s little cafe (it seats four) because of its very blackness.

If the ownership and staff of Turkey and the Wolf were to be replaced exclusively with black New Orleanians, it would hardly be interesting to most food publications. Its kitsch would be deigned bad design; its off-kilter take on conventional staples would be judged too baroque and gauche; that charming laid-back service would be registered as rude and incompetent.

Yet given a national platform (San Francisco Chronicle) upon which to speak, Wey does exactly what he decries.

We would’ve loved to have seen Wey speak a few thousand words on Chef Jeff Heard and his little joint inside the old Podner’s Barbecue.

And then give Turkey and the Wolf a quick paragraph as an ‘oh yeah, and there’s a little deli a mile down the road that’…(is) “kitsch-embraced, coddled and elevated beyond irony. The glasses were plastic, the sort that necessitated a straw, except straws are harmful to the environment, so I smeared my drinking lips against my glass’s seedy rim. The plateware was self-consciously cheap, and the silverware doubled down on the low-cost theme…”

How many local or national media have spoken on Heard Dat Kitchen? Nearly none.

How many have written elegies to Turkey and the Wolf? Thousands.

Wey squandered a beautiful opportunity to profile a Black-owned restaurant in a way that is seldom accomplished on a national level. Instead he merely drove hundreds of more diners into a restaurant that already is seeing long lines in spite of serving “melodramatic chunks of meat stuffed between thick slices of toasted brown bread and weighted with garish and conspicuously incongruous ingredients…”

And they won’t be wearing KKK hats.

Meanwhile, Chef Jeff will be right up the street dishing out big bowls of red beans and rice, stewed chicken plates and fried chicken po boys all washed down with big styrofoam cups of ‘dat shit’

Here’s our elegy on Jeff Heard and his divine fried chicken po boy

Heard Dat Kitchen (504) 510-4248

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