It's October, which means that it's Oktoberfest, which means that the traditionally French and Creole New Orleans palate will comes as close as it does during the calendar year to enjoying some traditional German food. In the spirit of the season, Gambit spoke to Jager Haus chef Tomas Lejba, a Czech Republic native who came to New Orleans back in 2007. Since his arrival, Lejba has occupied an interesting niche, cooking traditional German food for a city that is probably more familiar with cuisine from the other side of the Rhine.
Many times we've faced a problem when we try to make really authentic food, because people in New Orleans didn't seem to care much for it right away. If we make traditional sauerkraut, for example, some people find it a bit too sour. So we make a version — the one that's served on our Oktoberfest plate with three different sausages and sides — that's more on the sweet side, and when people taste it they really enjoy it. But on the regular menu, we still have the bratwurst sandwich, where we use Berlin-style sauerkraut, which is very sour, heated up with bacon and served on top of the sausage.
We're not quite two weeks into Top Chef: New Orleans and we already have possibly the best quote from the whole spectacle. Whilst scouring the internets for reviews of the latest Top Chef season, Gambit came across this gem from Laine Doss, a critic for the Miami New Times, about all of South Louisiana's favorite, um, proteins:
This season, things move fast. No quick fire — just the elimination round, says Tom Colicchio as he and Padma Lakshmi toss beads to the cheftestants. The beads represent the proteins that each chef will use for their elimination dish. And, being it's New Orleans, the proteins represent Louisiana's finest residents — frog, alligator, turtle, and drunk frat boy tourist. OK — no one's really cooking a drunk tourist — but wouldn't that be awesome?
"Awesome," in this instance, probably only applies to horror movie premises, not, you know, real life.
· Chef Toma Lejba at Jager Haus [Gambit]
· Trends, notes, quirks and quotes from the food world [Gambit]
· Jager Haus [Official Site]
Outside Jager Haus. [Photo: Facebook]