WSRE | Conversations With Jeff Weeks | John Folse


Uploaded by WSRETV on 30.11.2012

Transcript:
>> THIS ORIGINAL WSRE
PRESENTATION IS MADE POSSIBLE BY
VIEWERS LIKE YOU.
THANK YOU.
>> RENOWNED LOUISIANA CHEF JOHN
FOLSE, ON THIS EDITION OF
CONVERSATIONS.
>> CHEF JOHN FOLSE HAS HELPED
TAKE THE TASTE OF LOUISIANA
CUISINE GLOBALLY.
SO MUCH SO THAT THE LOUISIANA
LEGISLATURE DEEMED HIM
LOUISIANA'S CULINARY AMBASSADOR
TO THE WORLD.
FROM JAPAN TO MOSCOW TO A
VATICAN STATE DINNER IN ROME.
HIS RECIPES PLEASED PALATES OF
MANY.
HE USED HIS SKILLS TO BUILD AN
IMPRESSIVE ARRAY OF BUSINESSES,
FROM HIS SIGNATURE LAUNCHING PAD
RESTAURANT WILL FEET'S LANDING
HE'S CREATE AD BUSINESS EMPIRE
THAT ENCOMPASSES CATERING,
PUBLISHING, FOOD MANUFACTURING
AND BROADCASTING.
HIS NATIONALLY SYNDICATED
COOKING SHOW ENTITLED A TASTE OF
LOUISIANA WITH CHEF JOHN FOLSE
AND COMPANY, IS A FAVORITE FOR
MANY RIGHT HERE ON PBS.
WELCOME JOHN FOLSE TO
CONVERSATIONS.
THANKS FOR JOINING US.
>> VERY NICE TO BE HERE WITH
YOU.
THANKS SO MUCH.
>> OUR PLEASURE.
DESCRIBE THE TASTE OF LOUISIANA.
>> WELL, ADEQUATELY DESCRIBE THE
TASTE OF LOUISIANA, I THINK WE
NEED TO GO BACK 300 TO 350 YEARS
WITH THE FOUNDING OF LOUISIANA.
BUT THE TASTE OF LOUISIANA MY
TELEVISION SHOW IS FIRST AND
FOREMOST ORIGINATED BACK IN
1989.
THE PREMISE WAS TO MIMIC LIFE IN
LOUISIANA, THAT IS TAKING US
THROUGH THE SEVEN NATIONS THAT
CREATED KAY JUNE AND CREOLE
CUISINE AND CULTURE WHEN WE
THINK ABOUT THE FRENCH, SPANISH,
GERMANS, AFRICANS ENGLISH, ALL
ARRIVED IN LOUISIANA AT SOME
POINT AND BROUGHT THEIR QUEUE
SEN, THEIR TECHNIQUE,
PHILOSOPHIES IN COOKING AND
THEIR INGREDIENTS FOR NEW
DISHING THROUGH LOUISIANA,
CREATED NOT ONLY THE TASTE OF
LOUISIANA AS WE KNOW IT AS A
TELEVISION SERIES BUT A TASTE OF
LOUISIANA ACTUALLY BUILT OUT OF
THE THE MUD AND BAYOUS OF THE
SWAMPLANDS, SO IT'S BEEN AN
HONOR AND PRIVILEGE OVER THE
YEARS NOT ONLY TO WRITE ABOUT
THE SUBJECTS BUT TO BROADCAST
THE SUBJECT, WORLDWIDE AND TO
TAKE CULINARY CUISINE GLOBALLY
AS WELL.
IT'S ALL A TASTE OF LOUISIANA.
>> WHAT KIND OF RESPONSE DO YOU
GET WHEN YOU GO INTERNATIONALLY?
I KNOW YOU WERE IN MOSCOW BACK
IN THE '80s DURING REAGAN
SUMMIT.
TELL ME ABOUT THAT EXPERIENCE.
>> ONE OF THE THINGS THAT REALLY
MAKES US A CHEF CULINARIANS
EXCITED ABOUT OUR WORK EVERY
DAY, I DO CONSIDER OUR WORK A
GIFT, I THINK IT'S BEEN A GREAT
GIFT ALL OF US AS CREATIVE CHEFS
HAVE BEEN GIVEN.
AND GIVEN TO SHARE WITH THE
WORLD SO TO SPEAK.
AND I THINK TO SEE THE FACES OF
PEOPLE TASTING FOR THE FIRST
TIME A CUISINE OR INGREDIENT
NEVER TASTED BEFORE, A FLAVOR
HITTING THE TASTE BUDS, THEY SAY
WOW, WHAT IS THAT?
IT'S GUMBO.
TO EXPLAIN GUMBO YOU HAVE TO GO
BACK TO THE SLAVES AND NATIVE
AMERICANS AND THE DARK BROWN
RULE OF THE FRENCH.
HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN IT?
THROUGH TASTE.
SO WHEN YOU PUT THAT SPOON IN
SOMEBODY'S MOUTH AND THEY TAKE
IT IN AND THEY OH, MY GOSH, WHAT
IS THAT?
THAT'S HOW YOU EXPLAIN THE TASTE
OF OUR FOOD.
IT'S -- BUT IT'S ALL ABOUT THE
PEOPLE EATING I, THE EXPERIENCEN
THEIR FACES WHEN THEY TASTE IT
THAT INSPIRE US TO CONTINUE TO
COOK ON AND CONTINUE TO DO
THINGS WE DO.
THAT'S OUR TASTE OF LOUISIANA.
>> DO YOU GET A DIFFERENT
REACTION IN THE UNITED STATES
VERSUS SAY MOSCOW, BEIJING OR
TOKYO?
>> WE'RE FORTUNATE IN LOUISIANA
THAT OUR CULTURE, CREOLE
CULTURE, KAY JUNE CULTURE AN
CERTAINLY THE FOODS AND
CERTAINLY NEW ORLEANS BEING ONE
OF THE FIRST CITIES FOUNDED
AFTER ST. AUGUSTINE SO TO SPEAK
IN THE NEW WORLD, PEOPLE KNOW US
EVEN IF THEY DON'T REALLY KNOW
US, NEW ORLEANS IS MARDI GRAS,
IT'S BAYOUS AND MYSTICAL
SWAMPLANDS AND THEY KNOW THERE'S
EXOTIC FOODS AND ALLIGATORS.
AND I THINK THERE'S AN
INSTRIGGED JUST IN THE FACT,
LIKE ME, I KNEW MOSCOW BEFORE I
WENT BECAUSE I KNEW THE IMAGE OF
THE KREMLIN.
I NEVER BEEN THERE BUT I WAS
ENTHRALLED TO SEE IT.
I THINK THAT'S THE PREFER CURSOR
TO EVERYTHING WE DO.
PEOPLE EXPECT THAT WHETHER THEY
HAVE HEARD OR ENVISIONED IN
THEIR OWN MIND ABOUT WHAT THEY
CAN EXPERIENCE WHEN THEY TASTE
LOUISIANA, IT'S GOING TO BE FUN,
A LEARNING EXPERIENCE.
I WOULD SAY PEOPLE AROUND THE
GLOBE ARE JUST AS EXCITED TO
TASTE OUR FOOD AS PEOPLE COMING
TO MY RESTAURANT IN NEW ORLEANS
SITTING T A TABLE SAYING I DON'T
KNOW WHAT I'M GOING TO EAT BUT
IT'S GOOD.
IT'S THE SAME WHETHER HERE OR
THERE.
THERE'S AN EXPECTATION WE HAVE
TO MEET.
>> SPEAKING OF YOUR RESTAURANT
IN NEW ORLEANS, RELATIVELY NEW,
TELL ME ABOUT IT.
>> RESTAURANT REVOLUTION, YOU SO
GENEROUSLY MENTIONED A LA FEET'S
LANDING AT THE BEGINNING OF MY
COMPANY, WILL FITE'S LANDING WAS
MY FIRST RESTAURANT BUILT IN A
HOME THAT WAS A GIFT, THE
MARRIAGE TO HIM AND HIS WIFE
FROM THE VIALA PLANTATION
FAMILY.
THAT WAS THE HOME THAT IT WAS
BUILT IN OR OUT OF IN LOUISIANA,
RIGHT AT THE SUNSHINE BRIDGE.
I OPERATED THAT RESTAURANT OVER
25 YEARS AND A DEVASTATING FIRE
TOOK IT IN 1998, THEN I MOVED TO
MY BITTERSWEET PLANTATION TO
OPEN MY NEW RESTAURANT BED AND
BREAKFAST.
THAT OPERATED A WHILE BUT THEN I
TURNED INTO A FULL TIME B AND B.
BUT I WAS FORTUNATE IN JUNE OF
2012 THIS YEAR TO OPEN MY
RESTAURANT REVOLUTION IN NEW
ORLEANS WITH MY PARTNER RICK
TRAMANT A FAMOUS CHEF FROM
CHICAGO WHO EVERYBODY KNOWS IF U
YOU'RE INTO FOOD NETWORK OR
COOKING OR PBS, WHATEVER YOU
KNOW THE NAME.TTTTTTT
REVOLUTION AT THE SENESCETA
HOTEL SHOWCASING THE ICONIC AND
HISTORIC FOODS THAT MAKE NEW
ORLEANS AND LOUISIANA FAMOUS.
YET LOOKING AT HIM IN A COMP
THEM RARE WAY SO IT'S --
CONTEMPORARY WAY.
IT'S TAKING OFF AND WE'RE
ENJOYING FUN COOKING TOGETHER.
IT'S AN EXPERIENCE, TWO CHEFS
FROM TWO WALKINGS OF LIFE.
HE'S IN NEW YORK, I'M FROM
SWAMPS OF WILL L COMBINING OUR
CULINARY TALENTS TO CREATE
SOMETHING THAT'S REVOLUTIONARY.
WE HOPE.
SO IT'S A GREAT PLACE TO BE
RIGHT NOW COOKING, JUST ANOTHER
EDITION TO THE COMPANIES THAT WE
RUN.
>> WHEN TWO GET TOGETHER TELL ME
WHAT IT MIGHT BE LIKE, HOW MIGHT
THE DAY GO IF YOU CREATE
SOMETHING?
>> ONE MYSTERY OF -- IT'S
UNCOMMON FOR TWO CHEFS TO
DOCUMENT TOGETHER BECAUSE BOTH
HAVE TO TWO CREATIVE SPIRITS
FROM DIFFERENT THOUGHT PROCESSES
AND THE WAY YOU VIEW FOOD.
THAT MAKES RESTAURANTS
DIFFERENT.
YOU GO BECAUSE THE CHEFS THINK
DIFFERENTLY ABOUT FOODS,.
YOU HAVE A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE
WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY.
RICK AND I SAT DOWN TO TALK
WANETA, THERE WAS A LOT BOTTLE
OF OPUS 1 ON THE TABLE.
THE GREAT WINE FROM ROTH CHILD,
THE COLLABORATION OF THOSE TWO
GREAT WINE MAKERS, ONE FROM
FRANCE, ONE FROM NAPA VALUABLY,
THEY WERE GIANTS IN THE
INDUSTRY, THEY OWND THE INDUSTRY
THIS THEIR OWN COUNTRY YET THEY
DECIDED THE COLLABORATE AND COME
TOGETHER IN A WINE.
THEY BUILT OPUS 1.
THE LABEL, I WAS LOOKING AT IT,
IT WAS THE HEAD OF MONDAVI AND
ROSS SHIELD AND THEY WERE
LOOKING IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS
BUT THE BACK OF THEIR HEADS WERE
JOINED.
I THOUGHT TO MYSELF, THAT'S
EXACTLY WHAT WE'RE DOING, IT'S
NOT ABOUT EXCHANGING OUR
THOUGHTS WITH EACH OTHER, IT'S
BACKING OUR BRAINS UP TO EACH
OTHER STILL LOOKING IN THE
DIRECTION THAT WE LOVE AND
DIRECTION WE GREW UP IN.
BUT YET, THERE'S A MEETING POINT
IN THE BACK OF OUR BRAIN THAT
SAYS IT'S ONLY FOOD.
IT'S ONLY GREAT -- IT'S ONLY
INGREDIENTS AND COLLECTIVELY OUR
BRAINS PUT TOGETHER AN CREATE
SOMETHING NEW AND EXCITING,
SOMETHING REVOLUTIONARY SO TO
SPEAK.
THAT'S HOW IT CAME TOGETHER.
SO WHEN WE CREATED IT'S ABOUT
TASTE AND FLAIR AND WE LOOK AT
FOOD IN A DIFFERENT WAY SO IT'S
INTERESTING THAT I CAN LOOK AT A
PLATE OF EGGS AND HAM AND HE CAN
LOOK AT A PLATE OF EGGS AND HAM
AND WE SEE IT TOTALLY DIFFERENT.
WE SEE THE FLAVORS TOTALLY
DIFFERENT.
I MIGHT PUT A LITTLE BIT HOT
SAUCE OR CREOLE SEASONING, HE
MAY PUT A FLAVORED SAUCE ON TOP,
BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY YOU
CAN BET YOU CAN REST ASSURE IT'S
GOING TO BE A SPECIAL PLATE OF
FOOD.
SO IT'S GREAT COLLABORATION, I'M
ENJOYING IT A LOT.
IT'S ALSO MAINTAINING YOUR OWN
IDENTITY.
VERY NICE RESTAURANT REVOLUTION.
VERY EXCITED ABOUT IT.
>> THAT'S NEAT.
WHAT MIGHT WE FIND THERE AS FAR
AS PARTICULAR DISH?
>> WELL, A GOOD EXAMPLE IS OUR
CORN AND CRAB CAPPUCCINO.
'S A CORN AND CRAB SOUP THAT'S
-- WE SERVE IT WITH A LOT OF
POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE IN THESE
BEAUTIFUL VERSACE CUPS AN
FLOATING ON TOP IS THE WHIPPED
CREAM MADE WITH CORN, THE MILK
OF THE CORN COB THAT'S BURSTING
WITH THE EXCITEMENT OF CORN
FLAVOR.
THERE'S ASIA OF TRUFFLE ON TOP
OF IT.
BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY AROUND THE
SIDE OF THE PLATE ARE ELEMENTS
THAT REMIND US WHERE THAT SOUP
CAME FROM.
IT'S A GIFT FROM MESO AMERICANS,
THE GIFT THE NATIVE AMERICAN
CULTURES OF THE SOUTH.
SO THERE'S A PIECE OF CORN
CHUCK, AND CORN SILK, THERE'S
POPCORN, THE GARNISH, THE
CROUTON AND THE SOUP IS A LITTLE
POPCORN SO WHEN YOU PUT YOUR
SPOON INTO IT, IT'S ALL THESE
WONDERFUL MAGICAL FLAVORS OF THE
CORN AND CRAB SOUP BUT INSTANTLY
YOU'RE REMINDED IT'S BUILT UP ON
THIS ALTER OF VERSACE AND THESE
MAGNIFICENT ELEMENTS THAT SAY
WOW, I NEVER THOUGHT THIS WAS A
GIFT OF A SIMPLE NATIVE AMERICAN
TRIBE THAT GAVE US CORN AND
SHARED THAT WITH US AND BUILT AN
ADDITION TO CULINARY CULTURE.
EACH DISH IS LIKE THAT, WHETHER
OUR TURTLE SOUP FROM THE
LOUISIANA LOGGER HEAD SNAPPING
TURTLE AND RICK AND I HAVE TAKEN
AN 1820s RECIPE WE FOUND AND
PLAYED WITH THAT RECIPE AND USED
THE CHOW CHOW RELISH OF THE
GERMANS THAT CAME TO LOUISIANA.
THE TURTLE OF THE KAY JUNE
TRAPPER AND THOSE ELEMENTS COME
TOGETHER AND THIS BEAUTIFUL
SOUP.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE CULTURE IN
THE THEIR WONDERFUL CROW
YEAHTIVE TALENT, ONCE THEY MELT
EACH OF THEIR WORLDS IN ONE POT.
THAT'S WHAT WE'RE DOING.
SO YOU SEE THINGS LIKE THAT
THROUGHOUT THE MENU BUT
CONSTANTLY REMINDING OUR DINER
THAT IT WAS AFRICANS WHO DID
THAT PLATE, IT WAS INDIANS WHO
GAVE US THAT GIFT, GERMANS WHO
GAVE US THE SMOKED MEAT AND
ANDOUILLS AND THE ENGLISH WHO
GAVE AT THIS CREAM AND BUTTERS.
WE CREATE DIFFERENTLY THAN ANY
OTHER RESTAURANT I HAVE BEEN IN.
>> FASCINATING.
DO YOU PERSONALLY HAVE A
FAVORITE INGREDIENT?
IS THERE ANY INGREDIENT YOU GO
THIS IS MY SIGNATURE THING I CAN
MAKE WORK?
>> GARLIC.
>> GARLIC.
TELL ME MORE.
>> GARLIC, I LOVE GARLIC.
GARLIC IS THE OLDEST SPICE KNOWN
TO MAN.
GARLIC HAD A MAJOR PLACE IN THE
BIBLE WHEN THE ISRAELITES CAME
DOWN IN THE DESERT AND MOSES
CAME DOWN THE MOUNT WITH TABLETS
IN HIS HAND AND FOUND AARON AND
HIS GROUP WORSHIPING AN IDOL, A
GOLDEN CALF THEY HAD MELTED
AFTER THEY HAD COME OUT OF EGYPT
AND SLAVERY.
HE BROKE THE TABLETS ON THE
GROUND BECAUSE HE WAS SO
FURIOUS.
AND THEY LOOKED UP AND SAID YOU
MADE US LEAVE EGYPT WITHOUT
TAKING OUR GARLIC WITH US, IT
WAS SUCH AN IMPORTANT -- THE TEN
COMMANDMENTS WERE BROKEN OVER
THE FACT THAT GARLIC -- BUT THE
GARLIC IS SWEET IN YOU ROAST IT
ON A BARBECUE PIT, YOU SPREAD IT
LIKE BUTTER F. YOU PUT THE
PUNGENT INGREDIENT IN A SOUP
IT'S AS AIRMATIC YOU CAN GET
NOWHERE ELSE.
IT'S MEDICINAL, GOOD FOR THE
BLOOD.
IT HAS HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE.
EVERY CULTURE USES IT, ONLY HERB
EVERYBODY USES IN COOKING.
AND WE CANNOT COOK ANYTHING IN
LOUISIANA, I EVEN SAY BREAD
PUDDING WITHOUT HAVING GARLIC IN
IT.
IT IS DEFINITELY MY FAVORITE
INGREDIENT.
>> DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE FOOD?
>> I LIKE SIMPLICITY IN COOKING.
PEOPLE THINK CHEFS ARE JUST ALL
WOWED ABOUT FOOD.
WE ARE.
I MEAN, WE'RE WOWED ABOUT
CREATION OF FOOD.
THE CREATION OF ELEMENTS OF
FOOD.
AT THE END OF THE DAY FOODS OF
YOUR YOUTH THAT YOU THRIVE AND
CRAVE DAY IN AND OUT.
VERY EARLY AT THE HOME OF OUR
MOTHERS AN KITCHEN OF OUR HOME
WHEN WE'RE YOUNG CHILDREN, YOUR
CHILDREN, WHAT THEY EAT IS
INFLUENCED BY WHAT THEY -- THOSE
FIRST MEALS AND ONCE THEY START
TO EAT SOLID FOOD.
AND THEY'RE INFLUENCED HEAVILY
BY PARENTS.
IF YOU HATE GREEN BEANS REST
ASSURED YOUR DAUGHTER IS GOING
TO HATE THEM BECAUSE WE PASS
THAT DAN ON TO THEM.
VERBALLY OR ACTUALLY -- SO I
LOVE THE SIMPLICITY OF THE
THOUGHT OF THE BRAISED DISH IT
WAS SWAMPLANDS OF LOUISIANA, THE
SIMPLE MEAT DISHES THAT ARE
STEWED LONG AND SLOW IN
WONDERFUL BROTHS AND ONIONS AND
CELERY TRINITY, ALL THESE GREAT
FLAVORS AND SOPPED UP WITH
FRENCH BREAD.
THESE ARE THE COMFORT FOODS OF
MY YOUTH AND I LOVE THEM.
VERY MUCH.
SOMEBODY ASKED ME ONE DAY IF
IT'S YOUR LAST MEAL WHAT'S IT
GOING TO BE?
I GUESS EVERYBODY ASKED THAT
QUESTION.
I SAID I DON'T EVEN HAVE TO
THINK ABOUT IT.
IT'S A BOWL OF THIS SWARTY DARK
BROWN CHICKEN AND SAUSAGE GUMBO
MY MOTHER MADE WITH A SCOOP OF
POTATO SALAD ON THE END OF THE
BOWL.
I'LL EAT THE BOWL AND I'M READY
TO MEET MY MAKER.
MY LAST MEAL.
>> WHAT WAS IT LIKE FOR A YOUNG
JOHN FOLSE GROWING UP IN
LOUISIANA?
>> MY FATHER WAS A TRAPPER.
AND OUR CHRISTMAS WAS
FEBRUARY 25th.
IT WAS CALLED TRAPPER'S
CHRISTMAS.
WE DIDN'T HAVE
DECEMBER 25th.
PAPA KNOLL APPEARED ON THE
SWAMPLANDS OF LOUISIANA IN HIS
SLEIGH FEBRUARY 25th WHEN
TRAPPERS CAME FROM THE SWAMPS
AND SOLD THEIR FURS TO THE
JEWISH FUR TRADERS THAT CAME
EARLY ON.
THE KAY JUNES AND THE JEWS WERE
CLOSE FRIENDS, THEY DEPENDED ON
EACH OTHER AND THEY TRUSTED EACH
OTHER IN THE SWAMPS.
MY DAD WOULD DISAPPEAR FROM HOME
IN NOVEMBER AND COME BACK IN
FEBRUARY JUST LIKE THE RUNNERS
OF THE THE WOODS OF QUEBEC BACK
IN THE 1600s WITH HIS PELT AND
ALLIGATOR SKINS.
I REMEMBER ROLLING THEM OUT ON
OUR KAY JUNE CABIN.
US'S VIVID IN MY MIND.
IT WAS SO SIMPLE A LIFE, SO
UNBELIEVABLY DIFFERENT FROM WHAT
I'M DOING TODAY.
I MEAN, I COULDN'T EVEN IMAGINE
A WORLD TWO MILES AWAY FROM THAT
FRONT PORCH.
DIDN'T EXIST.
AND EVERYTHING THAT I WAS
EXPECTED TO DO IN MY ENTIRE LIFE
WAS RIGHT THERE ON THAT
LANDSCAPE BECAUSE THERE WAS NO
NEED TO DO ANYTHING ELSE.
ANYTHING YOU COULD WANT IN LIFE
IS RIGHT THERE AS FAR AS MY AN
ZESTORS FELT. IT WAS A GREAT
PLACE TO GROW UP, A HUMBLE PLACE
TO GROW UP YET A LOVING PLACE TO
GROW UP.
WE HAD NOTHING BUT WE DIDN'T
KNOW ANY BETTER AND WE KNEW
EVERYTHING WE NEEDED TO EAT,
CLOTHE OURSELVES WITH, SHELTER
OURSELVES WITH, WAS RIGHT THERE
FOR US.
EVEN MEDICINES WERE THERE.
THE BELLIES OF THE SWAMP.
THE POLTS THAT YOU PUT ON YOUR
CHEST.
IT WAS ALL SIMPLE THINGS, IT WAS
ALL HERBAL MEDICINE, WHATEVER IT
WAS, BUT YOU KNOW WHAT, IT'S WHO
I AM TODAY, IT'S WHAT I THRIVE
ABOUT THE DATA SIMPLICITY OF
LIFE, THE STORIES THAT WE TELL,
WHAT INSPIRES ME TO KNOW THAT
ANYBODY CAN MAKE IT.
THE THINGS THAT I GO TO MY CLASS
ROOM AT NICKEL STATE UNIVERSITY
WHERE I HAVE OVER 400 STUDENTS
STUDYING CULINARY IN FOUR YEAR
DEGREE PROGRAM AND I WALK TO THE
FRESHMAN CLASS EVERY YEAR AND I
SAY DON'T EVER TELL ME WHAT YOU
CAN'T DO.
DON'T EVER TELL ME IT'S SOMEBODY
ELSE'S RESPONSIBILITY.
DON'T TELL ME YOU'RE NOT ABLE.
YOU'RE LOOKING AT SOMEBODY WHOSE
LIFE WAS THE MUD FLOW OF THE
SWAMPS.
I HAVE BROUGHT FOOD TO 12
COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD.
I HAVE FED FIVE PRESIDENTS NOT
BECAUSE I WAS GIVEN ANY
WHEREWITHAL TO DO IT BUT BECAUSE
THE DESIRE WAS THERE, AND I PUT
NO BOUNDARIES IN FRONT OF ME.
I JUST DID IT BECAUSE I WANTED
TO.
THAT'S WHAT THAT LIFE WAS ALL
ABOUT FOR ME.
THAT'S FOR EVERYBODY WHO GREW UP
IN THAT ENVIRONMENT, YOU KNEW
YOUR LIFE DEPENDED ON YOUR
ABILITY AND THE PEOPLE AROUND
YOU TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.
THAT'S WHO I AM.
AND I CHERISH THAT EVERY SINGLE
DAY.
BUT IT'S SIMPLE AS THAT.
JUST AS SIMPLE AS THAT.
>> YOU HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN
THE BUSINESS WORLD.
TELL ME THE STORY HOW YOU WHEN
FROM CHEF TO BUSINESSMAN.
>> NECESSITY.
I DIDN'T KNOW WHEN I TOOK THAT
STEP FROM COOK TO ENTREPRENEUR.
I REALLY DON'T.
I JUST KNEW ONE DAY THAT IF I
DIDN'T LOOK OUTSIDE OF MY FRONT
DOOR AND FIND OUT WHY I DIDN'T
HAVE AS MANY PEOPLE SITTING AT
MY TABLE AS I NEEDED TO PAY MY
BILLS I NEED TO FIND THE REST OF
THE SEATS TO PUT IN THE CHAIRS.
SO IT DAWNED ON ME THAT I NEEDED
TO MARKET OUR UNIQUENESS.
I DON'T KNOW HOW I KNEW THAT,
BUT I KNEW THAT THERE WAS
SOMETHING SPECIAL GOING ON IN
THAT AREA OF THE COUNTRY WHERE I
OPENED WILL FITE'S LANDING.
WE WERE ON THE BANKS OF THE
MISSISSIPPI RIVER, WE WERE ON
THE FOOTHILLS OF THE SWAMPLANDS,
I KNEW THE LANGUAGE WAS
DIFFERENT, PEEP PEOPLE SPOKE
FRENCH IN MANY AREAS, I KNEW
INGREDIENTS FROM RACOON, TIMOUS
RAT AND ALLIGATOR TAILS, EVEN
FOOD NAMES WERE DIFFERENT.
I SAID THIS IS FABULOUS STUFF.
WHY SHOULDN'T THE WORLD KNOW
ABOUT THIS?
AND ONE DAY A SAW A TOUR BUS IN
FRONT OF MY PLACE I AIN'T SEEN
BEFORE AND ON THE BACK WAS A
SIGN THAT SAID NEW ORLEANS TOURS
AND THE PHONE NUMBER.
I SAID I WONDER WHO IS ON THAT
BUS?
THOSE PEOPLE NEED TO HEAR THIS
STORY, I CHASED THAT BUS DOWN.
IT WENT TO A PLANTATION HOME AND
I WALKED TO THAT BUS, I SAID
EVERYBODY THE DRIVER WAS
COLLECTING HIS NOTES.
I SAID WHERE ARE Y'ALL FROM?
HE SAID NEW ORLEANS, WE PICK
THEM UP AT HOTELS.
HE SAID THEY'RE FROM ALL OVER
THE WORLD.
HOW DO I GET THEM TO STOP AT MY
PLACE ACROSS THE RIVER AND HEAR
THE STORIES AN EAT FOODS OF THIS
AREA?
THIS IS THE FOODS THE SWAMP
FLOOR I'M SERVING.
THE SWAMP FLOOR GIVES ME
EVERYTHING I NEED TO COOK.
YOU'RE EATING CHICKEN SALAD
SANDWICHES HERE.
THE SAME PRICE I'LL FEED YOU
THERE, THE HISTORY OF LOUISIANA.
HE SAID WOW, CAN I GET A BUCK A
HEAD?
I SAID A, BUSINESS.
I SAID YOU BET DEGREE A BUCK A
HEAD IF I CAN GET THAT WHOLE
BUS.
I FIGURED IT OUR, THIS IS
ENTREPRENEURSHIP.
HE MAKES IT, I MAKE IT THEY MAKE
IT AND THEY GET THE GETTEST
FOOD.
I BUILD A BUSINESS AND
EVENTUALLY I HAD ABOUT 11 BUSES
THERE, IT TAUGHT ME AS LONG AS I
MARKETED OUR UNIQUENESS AND TOLD
THE STORY OF A PEOPLE THAT WAS
SO UNIQUE IN THE WORLD AND THE
FOODS SO DIFFERENT FROM ANYTHING
ELSE AND NEW ORLEANS, 70-MILE AS
WEEK WILL NOT COMPETE WITH THE
SWAMP FLOORS OF LOUISIANA, I
KNEW I HAD A STORY TO TELL
THAT'S THE STORY I HAVE TAKEN TO
12 COUNTRIES AS WELL.
>> THAT'S WHAT I FED GARBAGE OFF
OF.
THAT'S WHAT I FED POPE JOHN
PAUL, VERY INCREDIBLE, THE FOODS
OF SWAMP FLOOR.
>> THAT'S A GOOD STORY.
>> TALK ABOUT SOME OF YOUR
BUSINESSES. OBVIOUSLY YOU HAVE
THE RESTAURANT IN NEW ORLEANS,
YOU HAVE THE TELEVISION AND
RADIO SHOWS.
ABOVE AND BEYOND THAT, YOU'RE IN
THE MATCHING BUSINESS.
WHAT IS THAT?
>> MY FOOD MANUFACTURING
DIVISION WAS AGAIN, NOT SOME
GREAT -- I TELL PEOPLE THIS ALL
THE TIME, ESPECIALLY MY YOUNG
STUDENTS.
I SAID IT'S NEVER I WISH I COULD
SAY I WAS SMART ENOUGH TO HAVE
BUILT A COMPANY.
I'M NOT SMART ENOUGH TO HAVE
BUILT A COMPANY. I WAS SMART
ENOUGH TO SEE A NEED AND NOT BE
ABLE TO THE SAY NO.
WHEN PEOPLE CAME TO ME, WHEN THE
CASINO BUSINESS OPENED IN THE
GULF COAST OF LOUISIANA, AND
SOMEBODY CAME TO ME FROM LAS
VEGAS A CHEF WHO SAID CHEF, WE
NEED HELP MAKING A GUMBO.
WE DON'T UNDERSTAND GUMBO.
YET OUR CLIENTS ON THE GULF
COAST SAY THIS ISN'T GUMBO.
CAN YOU HELP US?
I SAID I CAN HELP YOU.
I HAVE As PEE.
HE SAID CAN YOU MAKE IT?
I SAID YEAH I GET HOW MUCH DO
YOU NEED?
HE SAID ABOUT 600-GALLONS A
WEEK.
I SAID 600 -- WHAT?
MY GOD, 600-GALLON AS WEEK.
I HAD A FIVE GALLON KETTLE, IT'S
ALL I COULD MAKE GUMBO IN IN MY
RESTAURANT.
I SAID SURE I CAN DO THAT.
BECAUSE I KNEW FROM MY TRAPPERS
CABIN DAYS THAT IT WASN'T ABOUT
WHETHER YOU COULD DO IT IT WAS
HOW YOU HAD TO DO IT.
THAT'S -- SO THE MANUFACTURING
DIVISION GREW OUT OF A LITTLE
FIVE GALLON KETTLE AND DRIVING
FIVE GALLONS OF GUM BOY AT A
TIME TO THE CASINOS AND TODAY I
PRODUCE OVER 100 MILLION POUNDS
OF FOOD EVERY YEAR THAT SHIPS
GLOBALLY.
I SHIP FOODS TO DUE BUY, TO THE
MIDDLE EAST, ALL OVER THE MIDDLE
EAST, TO SOUTH AMERICA, EUROPE,
EVERYTHING FROM SAUCE TO SOUPS
DESERTS, PASTRIES TO VEGETABLES,
AND CHANCES ARE GOOD THAT ANY
RESTAURANT YOU STOP IN THAT'S
RECOGNIZABLE ON THE SIDE OF THE
HIGHWAY, OR AN INTERSTATE THAT
HAS A RECOGNIZABLE SIGN, CHANCES
ARE GOOD YOU'RE EATING SOME OF
MY FOOD IN THOSE PLACES.
YOU STOP AT TGI FRIDAYS AND EAT
THEIR JACK DANIEL'S GLAZE OR
THEIR AL FREDO SAUCE, CHEF JOHN
FOLSE MAKES THAT.
ON AND ON AND ON.
I'M NOT PRIVY TO MENTION THEM
ALL BECAUSE SOME ARE PROPRIETARY
BUT MOST BIG CHAIN RESTAURANT
ALSO HAVE SOME OF THE THINGS I
DO ON THEIR MENU.
CASINOS FROM VEGAS TO THE GULF
COAST.
I DO FOODS FOR THEIR BUFFETS SO
ABOUT 100 MILLION POUNDS OF FOOD
A YEAR IN THAT DIVISION, WE HAVE
ABACKRY DIVISION AS WELL.
WE HAVE -- BAKERY DIVISION AS
WELL.
AND A CATER DIVISION WHICH
CATERS ALL OVER THE WORLD.
IF SOMEBODY WANTS A TASTE OF
LOUISIANA IN CANADA OR MEXICO
CITY, WE CAN DO THAT TOO.
A MARDI GRAS PARTY, WHATEVER
THEY WANT.
AND THEN OF COURSE THE
RESTAURANT SCENE ITSELF.
AND AGAIN, SHARING IT WITH OTHER
PEOPLE IN A PHILANTHROPIC WAY AS
WELL.
WE DO THINGS JUST AS WE DO WITH
OUR -- WITH PBS.
IT'S SO IMPORTANT TO TELL THE
MESSAGE OF YOUR AREA, OF YOUR
CUISINE OF THE UNIQUENESS OF
WHAT YOU'RE DOING.
PBS IS ONE OF MY MOST IMPORTANT
VEHICLES TO CAN THAT. THAT'S
HOW PEOPLE FIND OUT ABOUT US.
THEY WANT WATCH THE SHOWS LIKE
WHAT WE DO AND SAY LOOK AT THAT
BEAUTIFUL -- WE COULD USE SOME
OF THAT.
AND PBS HAS BUILT MY BRAND SO
I'M VERY HAPPY ABOUT THAT TOO.
SO ALL OF THE THINGS YOU TALK
ABOUT ARE ALL STITCHED TOGETHER
IN SOME WAYS.
ALL FOODS, IT'S ALL AUTHENTIC
AND IT'S ALL SEASONAL AND
REGIONAL TO ME.
THAT'S HOW COMPANIES COME
TOGETHER.
>> YOU KNOW WHAT ELSES THAT I
PICKED UP AND INTERVIEWED A LOT
OF SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE, THIS
SHINES THROUGH WITH YOU IS A
PASSION.
>> YEAH.
YOU KNOW, I THINK FIRST AND
FOREMOST, I SAY ALL THE TIME
IT'S A VISION, IT'S NOT AN ART.
A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE VISION.
AND I DWELL ON THIS ALL THE
TIME.
EXECUTION IS ART.
VISION EVERYBODY HAS IT, PEOPLE
SAY I WISH I HAD DONE THAT OR I
COULD HAVE DONE THAT.
EXECUTION OF THE VISION MAKES
THINGS HAPPEN.
EXECUTION COMES ABOUT FROM
PASSION.
IF YOU EXECUTE BECAUSE YOU WANT
TO EXECUTE BECAUSE THERE IS
DEMAND INSIDE DRIVING YOU TO DO
IT AND THEN THRIVE ON DOING IT
BETTER AND DOING MORE OF IT,
IT'S PASSION THAT MAKES
EVERYTHING IN LIFE REALLY HAPPY,
DOESN'T MATTER WHETHER IT'S
ABOUT MAKING MONEY OR THE
PASSION IS ABOUT SHARING OR THE
PASSION IS ABOUT TELLING A STORY
OR WRITING A BOOK.
LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING, I
HAVE KICKED OUT OF MY HISTORY
CLASS AT MY KILL STATE
UNIVERSITY NOTE BEING SMART
ENOUGH TO KNOW WHERE EUROPE WAS
AND NOW I HAVE WRITTEN 8 HISTORY
BOOKS.
I TOLD MY PROFESSOR, I RECEIVED
THAT HONORARY Ph.D. AT NICKEL
STATE UNIVERSITY THIS PAST
GRADUATION.
AND I -- WHEN I LEFT THE STAGE
FROM THE HONORARY DOCTORATE, THE
FIRST PERSON I CALLED WAS MY
RETIRED HISTORY TEACHER WHO
FAILED ME IN MY CLASS.
I SAID I JUST HAVE TO TELL YOU,
I WANT TO THANK YOU FOR PUTTING
IN SIDE OF ME SOMEWHERE THE
PASSION TO STUDY HISTORY.
EVEN THOUGH I DIDN'T KNOW IT AT
THE TIME BUT YOU'RE THE FIRST
PERSON I CALLED TODAY TO SAY
THANKS.
>> WHAT DID HE SAY?
HE WROTE A BIG STORY RECENTLY
ABOUT HAVING JOHN FOLSE CALL HIM
AFTER RECEIVING A DOCTORATE,
AFTER HE SAID CAN YOU IMAGINE
CALLING THE PROFESSOR THAT
FAILED YOU TO THANK?
HE BUILT IN ME A PASSION SO
SUCCEED.
WITHOUT FAILURE I WOULD NOT HAVE
KNOWN HOW TO SUCCEED.
AND I CAME BACK TO REMIND HIM
THAT IT WAS THE FAILURE IN HIS
CLASS THAT GOT ME SOMEWHERE,
PLANT AD SEED, HE PLANTED THAT
SEED IN HISTORY, AND THE DAY
AFTER WRITING SO MANY BOOKS ON
THE SUBJECT HAPPY TO SAY CAN YOU
IMAGINE WRITING THE ENCYCLOPEDIA
OF KAY JUNE CREOLE QUEUE SEEN
AND HAVING IT SO SUCCESSFULLY --
I ATTRIBUTE THAT TO HIM IN SOME
KIND OF WAY OR OTHER.
PASSION, YOU'RE EXACTLY RIGHT.
>> IT HAS BEEN A REAL PLEASURE
TO VISIT WITH YOU.
>> IT'S BEEN GREAT TO SEE YOU
TOO.
THANKS SO MUCH TO PBS FOR ALL
Y'ALL DO FOR ME AND ALL THE
WONDERFUL VIEWERS OUT THERE WHO
TUNE IN EVERY WEEK.
THEY'RE THE ONES WHO REALLY MAKE
IT HAPPEN FOR US.
>> ABSOLUTELY.
GREAT AUDIENCE WITH PBS.
WE'LL CONTINUE THE TO LOOK FOR
YOU ON PBS.
YOU'RE ALSO ON THE RADIO.
I HAVE TO MENTION THIS BECAUSE
YOU HAVE A NEW BOOK, IT'S CALLED
HOOKS, LIES AND ALIBIS.
THE HISTORY OF FISHING.
I WISH WE HAD MORE TIME TO GET
TO IT.
>> THAT'S MY NEW PBS SHOW SO
Y'ALL TUNE IN.
>> SOUND GOOD.
CHEF JOHN FOLSE.
THANK YOU FOR SPENDING TIME WITH
US.
BY THE WAY YOU CAN SEE A LOT
MORE OF OUR CONVERSATIONS ONLINE
AT WSRE.ORG/CONVERSATIONS.
I'M JEFF WEEKS, THANK YOU SO
VERY MUCH FOR WATCHING.
HOPE YOU ENJOY THE BROADCAST.
TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF,
WE'LL SEE YOU SOON.
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AND COASTAL CAPTIONING]
>> BROUGHT TO YOU BY THESE
CORPORATE SPONSORS.
>> AND BY VIEWERS LIKE YOU.