Jacob’s World Famous Andouille est. 1928. St John The Baptist Parish Louisiana

We’re heading home to Austin for our big Scrumptious Chef 8th Anniversary Gumbo Pop Up. Earlier this week we drove out to St John The Baptist Parish to visit the best andouille makers in the USA.

Once out in Acadiana we procured a suitcase load of smoked sausage-the kind made by old masters who have been plying their charcuterie trade since the 1920s.

Tickets for the event

Hope y’all can make it out.

A recipe for hog head gumbo

A Recipe For Shark Gumbo With Smoked Andouille Sausage

A Guide To Making The Best Gumbo You Will Ever Put In Your Mouth

Scrumptious Chef 8th Anniversary Party

We spent a few hours driving around the German Coast of Louisiana gathering up andouille sausage for the big Scrumptious Chef 8th anniversary party at Tamale House East in Austin next week.

La Cote des Allemands area of St John The Baptist Parish is the most famous sausage producing region in the entire United States, and if you want to make superior gumbo then you must travel here to procure your charcuterie.


Nelson Jacob was the first man to sell andouille commercially in the United States. We’re proud to use his sausage in our gumbo.

Saturday March 25, 2017 Senegalese chef Pierre Thiam is popping up at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum in Central City New Orleans.

The event is called Jolof to Jambalaya.

For the uninitiated, jolof or jollof as it’s often known, is an ancient African dish similar to jambalaya. I took an African cooking class from Toni Tipton Martin when I lived in Austin and jollof was one of the dishes that the class cooked under Martin’s tutelage.

I make it at the house fairly often as for a dollar you can have a vessel filled with enough joloff to last half the week.

5 courses are to be served at the event.


Scrumptious Chef Creole Foods Pop Up Restaurant

Scrumptious Chef Creole Foods Pop Up Restaurant

To have learned at the knee of the master Creole cooks featured in “Creole Feast: 15 Master Chefs Of Creole Cooking” one would need a time machine and the fortitude to be carried back to the 1970s when men like Nathaniel Burton (Broussard’s); Sherman Crayton (Vieux Carre) and Austin Leslie (Chez Helene) ruled the halls of Creole dining in the Crescent City.

We’ve spent the last few months studying the tome, making multiple recipes runs in our test kitchen and trying to figure out the best way to approach this ancient foodway.

Now it’s time to execute. Continue Reading

The Scrumptious Chef crew straight up ran the pop up restaurant scene when we lived in Austin, Texas. Our feasts were legendary and we regularly sold out every venue we appeared in but we never had the wherewithal to try and pull off a liquor bar pop up.

An alcohol license was too high dollar.

SXSW Frida Kahlo Pop Up

SXSW Frida Kahlo Pop Up

The entrepreneurs behind Tamale House East are now segueing into the world of liquor with Austin’s first ever alcohol-based pop up: a new concept called Bar Frida, an homage to Frida Kahlo who legendarily loved a good tipple now and again.

And they’ve got the liquor license to do it.

Expect daily tequila-based punches using fresh squeezed fruit juices, craft beer from heavyweights like Saint Arnold, Hops and Grain and Austin Beer Works as well as crazy shot and a beer specials for the blue collar workers who frequent Tamale House East.

Alcohol is all well and good but a top flight Mexican bar will always offer food.

Yani Diaz Smith, head cook at the Tamale House #3 on Airport Blvd will be preparing a special menu for the SXSW crowds that grew accustomed to visiting Bobby Vasquez’s (RIP) legendary, now-closed restaurant.

Does this mean that Diaz Smith will be bringing back some of the iconic Tamale House #3 menu items like brisket tacos, barbacoa and carnitas?

If so we may have to pile in the Econoline and roll back over to Austin for a day or two to soak in some old 1970s style Tex Mex and daydream about the groover’s paradise that no longer exists.

Bar Frida will take over the back bar that abuts the rear patio at Tamale House East during SXSW. Opening day is Saturday March 14th 2015 at noon and the bar will be open noon til Midnight each day through the 21st.

Bar Frida inside Tamale House East
1707 E 6th Street
Austin, Texas 78702


Madisonville, Tenn. “It’s not the dollar that motivates me so much as the compliment.”

It’s a long haul from Austin, Texas to Madisonville, Tennessee (2000 mile round trip) but when you’ve got a charcuterie pop up restaurant planned, it’s a pilgrimage that must be made.

And one I happily took as the new year began a few months back. In the world of USA cured meats, Allan Benton is king. His ham and bacon is served at high dollar eateries like French Laundry, Commander’s Palace and Momofuku. Chefs who generally take a 100% hands-on approach to cooking their own food, hand the ball off to Benton when it’s time to put country ham on the menu.

Benton’s little smokehouse in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains is the epicenter of cured heritage pork in USA.

“I don’t sell to greasy spoons or big chains–I just sell to high-quality establishments. I have zero marketing skills. Word spread from chef to chef, and I count my blessings every day that these chefs like what I do”

Since Madisonville is just two hours from my family’s farm in Kentucky, I was fortunate to grow up on Benton’s aged ham. There is none finer.

“Allan Benton is the rock star of American bacon,” says writer John T. Edge.

And Benton’s bacon is fine, but the 18 month process (including 84 hours bathed in hickory smoke) it takes to get a country ham out the door of the old roadside meat house is where the man demonstrates his real mastery.

“I call it country ham, but I’m lying through my teeth. It’s just a curing process they’ve been doing for a thousand years in Europe. The way I see it, just because they live in Parma, or in Germany, or anywhere else, doesn’t mean that they can produce a better ham than a bunch of farm boys from Tennessee can.”

Of course premium ham producers in Spain or France would have a hard time getting a hold of East Tennessee Hickory and Apple wood, and that’s where Benton has the drop on them.

Those are the only woods he uses in the lengthy smoking process.

It doesn’t matter what kind of wood you’re burning in your smokehouse if you’re using commercial feedlot meat, and Benton doesn’t waver in his determination to only use heritage pork; breeds like Berkshire, Duroc, Tamworth and Large Black are the only types that the man has any truck with.

That’s why he’s been called “the Mother Teresa of meat”

We’re proud of all of the purveyors we’ve used since we started our Scrumptious Chef pop up restaurant series almost two years ago, but at the end of the day we’re only in it for the meat.

Come on out on Saturday April 5th 2014 and get a big plate of Benton’s Country Ham and see for yourself why this man’s smoked pork has turned into a religion in USA.




ibm food truck

It’s gratifying to see mainstream local media providing some coverage for pop up restaurants in Austin. Of course, for it to happen, a bunch of entrepreneurs had to come in from New York City and Beverly Hills but still.

Baby steps.

Tomorrow night, March 6th 2014, a Beverly Hills outfit called Scratch Bar pops up once at ArtProm (430 w. 2nd st.) before settling in for a ten night run at a place called Collective Status (516 e.6th st).. As is the custom with many pop ups, the team behind the venture is going high dollar for night one at $150 per person. Let’s hope the ArtProm folks are well heeled. Chef Philip Frankland will be on the skillets. Reservations at sxsw@scratchbarla.com.

Humble little burger joint Shake Shack invades Austin in a food truck starting Saturday March 8th 2014. We picture Danny Meyer hunched over the steering wheel, pulling out of New York City wondering just what in the Hell he’s gotten himself into as he slowly realizes it’s a long ass drive to Austin. Continue Reading