Today is a special episode. I have Chef Darrell Johnson on to talk all about how to cook like your grandmother. Chef Darrell has 25 years of experience in the food industry. He has appeared on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen as well as The Great Food Truck Race. My time with Darrell oozed with his passion for the culinary world. Chef Darrell credits his great grandmother with his interest in food.
Spending Time With Grandma Is Key
Chef Darrel makes it clear that if you want to cook like your grandmother, you have to spend time with your grandmother. His grandmother pulled him in the kitchen at a young age. She taught him all of her tricks. The result was a love for cooking that changed his life for the better.
Grandmas are like that. They tend to understand what we need before we realize that we need it. Teaching Darrell to cook helped keep him out of trouble growing up. He had friends who were killed on the streets or ended up in prison. He was grateful for her wisdom in helping him have something constructive in his life. It provided Chef Darrell with a creative outlet.
What was the earliest recipe that Chef Darrell remembers cooking with his grandma? Without hesitation he responded gumbo. He went into great detail about how amazing and legendary this gumbo recipe is. He mentioned that Tyler Florence said it was some of the best gumbo that he’s ever had. Today Chef Darrell specializes in cajun/creole fusion. Those early days with grandma continue to be a source of motivation and inspiration for him.
My favorite part of the interview was listening to Chef Darrell speak about finding his grandma’s recipes after hurricane Katrina. The storm wiped out nearly everything in her house. The water came up 6.5 feet in the house. Her recipes were on a shelf 7 feet high. Miraculously they survived. Coincidence? I think not!
How to Find Out More
If you want a killer gumbo recipe, you can find Chef Darrel’s cookbook here. You can find NOLA-Creations website here and their Facebook account here. Make sure you order a copy of the cookbook. I can’t wait for mine to arrive!
Toasty Kettle is all about connecting with the past through food. As I listened to Chef Darrell talk about his own history I thought of my own grandma. Last year I took on a project of scanning and preserving all of the recipes that she has accumulated through her life. Most of them were handwritten on recipe cards or typed on her typewriter. It’s a wealth of culinary experience passing from one generation to the next. I have loved sifting through them and pulling out recipes that I remember grandma cooking.
That is why I love this show. As I research different topics and interview different businesses, it always takes me back to my own past and my own experiences. Hopefully it does the same for each of you.
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