Jose Meirelles, chef and owner, and Mark Hennessey, executive chef, of Le Marais, a kosher French brasserie in midtown, are back in New York after taking their Le Marais cookbook tour to New Orleans, Louisiana. Their visit, which lasted four days, included a whirlwind of events and cooking demonstrations. Their first stop was Chabad of Louisiana, located in uptown New Orleans, where Jose and Chef Mark presented their new kosher cookbook to the local Jewish community. They served a Hawaiian-inspired poke dish, their famous beef bourguignon, and corn chowder, all of which were demonstrated and explained in front of a sellout Louisiana crowd.
Hennessey said, “Le Marais is located in Times Square, in the center of action and the Jewish world. In writing our cookbook, we wanted to be able to share our food, fun and flavors with communities worldwide, but especially in smaller Jewish communities where they have limited kosher dine-out options.” Meirelles said, “In choosing our first stop on our kosher cookbook tour, we figured what better place than New Orleans, where there are world-famous chefs, amazing restaurants and a great food culture, but limited kosher fine dining options.”
The second of three events was held at the Chabad of Tulane Jewish Student Center, run by Rabbi Leibl and Mushka Lipskier, where chefs Jose and Mark prepared a Sabbath meal for over 180 students. Normally this weekly event at Chabad is prepared by Mushka and student volunteers, so she said, “What a nice treat for the students and an even better treat for me to have these world-class chefs prepare dinner for our students. The kids loved this culinary experience. Maybe they can take over Shabbat meals every week!” Chefs Mark and Jose spent Friday preparing for the meal and were featured on ABC-affiliate WGNO, who filmed the chefs joined by Tulane University students in the kitchen.
The final presentation of the weekend was in front of a smaller crowd for Sunday brunch. New Orleans kosher foodies, restaurant owners and chefs joined Mark and Jose at a roundtable discussion about kosher laws and how Mark and Jose, who aren’t themselves Jewish, transitioned from the non-kosher culinary world to Le Marais and serving New York’s kosher community. This event was held at Chabad of Louisiana, with Director Rabbi Zelig Rivkin and his sons (and community rabbis) Rabbis Mendel and Yochanan Rivkin hosting the crew from Le Marais. Jose continued, “All of the events were meaningful and allowed us to showcase our culinary arts and share our new cookbook with the New Orleans community, but we really enjoyed ‘talking shop’ with other kosher chefs and restaurant owners.”
The weekend ended with chef/owner Jose and executive chef Mark saying goodbye to their gracious hosts, and then back to New York and to Le Marais for the Monday rush.
After such a successful weekend, Jose and Mark are excited for their future speaking tours and cooking demonstrations around New York’s tri-state area. Also in the works are trips to Miami, Atlanta, Chicago and others. They were impressed with the cuisine that they tasted in New Orleans, and are excited to visit other Jewish communities around the country.
Their next visit outside of New York will be to the Chabad of the University of Miami over the weekend of Friday, January 20.