Poppy Tooker is a native New Orleanian who has spent her life immersed in the vibrant colors and flavors of her state.
Poppy’s NPR-affiliated radio show and podcast, Louisiana Eats!, carries her message state-wide and beyond.
In April 2018 Louisiana Eats was named Best National AND Best Regional Radio Program in the Food and Beverage category by the Taste Awards in Los Angeles.
Louisiana Eats! was awarded first, second and third place in the Best Radio Show category by the New Orleans Press Club in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, the national Taste Awards recognized Louisiana Eats! in the category of best beverage and drinks programming.
In 2013, her radio show inspired the Louisiana Eats! book, which received the Literary Award of the Year from the Louisiana Library Association.
Poppy will also be serving as the judge for 2018's Ora King Salmon Awards out of New Zealand. In that capacity, she will be traveling across the U.S. in the late summer, judging the salmon dishes of the 6 American semi-finalists. New Zealand, Australian and Japanese chefs will be competing also. The award will be given out in Nelson, New Zealand, October 16, 2018.
After being tapped to update one of the earliest Louisiana cookbooks, Madame Begue’s Creole Recipes of Old New Orleans Creole Cookery, which was first published in 1900, Poppy went on to continue the story of Begue’s with Tujague's Cookbook, Creole Recipes and Lore in the Grand New Orleans Tradition.
The Pascal’s Manale Cookbook will chronicle the food and the story of New Orleans second oldest, continuously operating family-owned restaurant. The book will be published in the fall of 2018. To purchase personalized copies of Poppy’s books, click here.
As a culinary activist, Poppy has been instrumental in reviving endangered local foods, such as Creole cream cheese and rice calas (click for recipes). As a leader and a friend, she was a key element in the success of the Crescent City Farmers Market. In 2007, Poppy authored the Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook which was given the Eula Mae Dore Tabasco Award for its historical and cultural content. Her on-camera flair has been on national television alongside celebrities that include Bobby Flay, Andrew Zimmern, Jeff Corwin, Mo Rocca, and even Wynton Marsalis.
Poppy also appears weekly on the WYES public television show, Steppin’ Out, with spicy food commentary.
Visitors and locals alike savor the opportunity to enjoy Poppy’s speaking engagements and culinary demonstrations, which tie together delicious history with original recipes.
She’s a cultural ambassador on a mission. In fact, you can call it destiny. “It has been my lifelong dream to bring my great-grandmother’s favorite saying to life. When I was a little girl, she would never tell me to clean my plate. Instead, she’d say 'Poppy, eat it to save it!'” This became her life’s mantra and fueled her desire to work as a culinary activist promoting and preserving food culture and history, while safe guarding the planet’s biodiversity. Poppy brought her motto to life through a television pilot, Eat It To Save It!
Poppy founded the Slow Food New Orleans Chapter in 1999 creating one of the first 10 chapters in the United States. She was selected to serve as an International Governor with the movement. Following Hurricane Katrina, Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini awarded Poppy with its first ever leadership award.
Following Hurricane Katrina, Poppy was recognized by the Times Picayune as a "Hero of the Storm”, a story which was nationally told on the Weather Channel. In 2012, Southern Living magazine named Poppy a “Hero of the New South” for her work in foodways. The International Association of Cooking Professionals recognized Poppy’s efforts in April 2008, with their first ever Community Service Award.