Some assignments for travel and food writers are exceptional. My recent trip to Southwest Louisiana fell into that category. Our hosts from the Lake Charles CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) were sharp millenials who created a masterful itinerary, and the fellow writers I met for the first time were savvy and entertaining. The fact that we would be covering the inaugural Southern Cast Iron Cook Off, sampling the best dishes from a dozen restaurants and eateries AND touring unique museums and attractions made for a packed four days.
Read it, look at the photos and prepare to drool. You'll want to sign up to be a food writer, I suspect.
My two favorite chefs from the trip were Chef Lyle Broussard at Jack Daniel's Bar and Grill and Chef Dave Evans at Luna Bar and Grill. Chef Lyle shared a lot about growing up around great cooks in his family and learning all the important things from them before going to culinary school. He sees cooking as being very natural for the people in this part of the country. Chef Dave, in addition to being passionate about serving good food, is extremely interested in the music and festivals of Lake Charles. His walls are lined with posters. He hosts live musicians regularly and is a huge sponsor of Chuck Fest held the first Saturday in October every year. He gets very animated when he talks about his wife and children -- all of whom are involved in the business in some way and have menu items named in their honor, such as Redfish Ian, Filet Nanette and Chicken Cassidy.
And, while we're on the subject of the unique and fabulous cuisine of Southwest Louisiana, here are a few more photos:
We all know that New Orleans gets heavy culinary recognition, but let me recommend driving a few hours further West for food with similar ingredients but a special taste.