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WWL>Topics>>12-5-13 3:10pm Angela: with Tom Fitzmorris

12-5-13 3:10pm Angela: with Tom Fitzmorris

Dec 5, 2013|

Angela sits down with food critic Tom Fitzmorris, host of "The Food Show" on 3WL 1350AM.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

-- said this is a very special day for me three incredible man on first Mike Anderson had a the FBI. Just talked to Brian that such a superstar in all of our mind. And now in my final hour. A man who has spent every week for the last 41 years. Writing about food. If that isn't enough he spent the last 25 years talking about food on the radio six days a week. I can't wait to find out what Tom Fitzmorris does on his tail off cook and make -- Or maybe that's when he writes and sixteen restaurant guides. For cookbooks and -- memoir he has offered -- how did Tom Fitzmorris become such a food authority. Maybe it started the day he was born on Mardi Gras day. Tom we have so much to talk about and so little time. First of all I did not know you're a born on money grunting I think that makes you very special hold on let's talk about. Where did begin 41. Years you have been writing about food so you started at seven you were in the secondary and he. Yet thank you thank you for all of this flattering stuff I mean I'm I'm. Very surprised to be recorded a mania and let alone a great man. As -- that you set a minute ago. Well anyway yeah I wish that were true. Well what happened was I was the editorial cartoonist for the campus newspaper and you don't know which was LSU -- -- back then that's old news. And they. A new editor came in and said to me I have a friend who who cartoonists or you're like fired. And says oh it would it would I didn't want to leave because. At that time if you were on the steps of the newspaper you could hang out in the newspaper office instead of in the snack bar with the all -- -- other people. And also there were a lot of hot chicks on the radio on the staff and -- you know I don't wanna lose my clubhouse privileges here is there anything else I can do. And niece and I can I write stories any scenario this year we wanna write about at the time. It UN though there was a white tablecloth restaurant. On the campus. Run by Peter's school funny junior who lose whose dad -- that fairly famous Rezko and over on. Causeway boulevard and before that don't Palmyra street and on the chef wasn't who got the name of -- Clark was his last name. Numbers for name at the moment. But he had been with the Brennan's for a while the -- that sent him to Europe in the court on blue and this guy was a seriously talented chef. And he was cooking Brennan's. Issues. On EU in this restaurant on the campus at UN no. It was amazing because -- serve you. Like a soup and then chicken -- so and I caramel custard for a dollar fifty. I'm so right there every day and I wrote an article about it but instead of writing it as a straight article eroded as a review. Because Richard -- the underground gourmet was actually a professor you know that's and that had really turned me on soul. The only Smart thing this editor ever did was to tell me hey what did you do one of these every week about all the other places you can -- around here. And I said okay and that was September 1 1972. And have written a column every week cents for different people. You know that is an incredible story but. But you have always reading right which -- all -- major living doing this or did you have day jobs and do this on the side a law. I had a few but I kept coming back to the food thing you know -- I was the editor of New Orleans magazine for about three years and I was the editor of Figueroa a few -- absolutely Figaro newspaper it was the last editor -- -- was the foundering hadn't been hurt and and you know a few other things here and there but I was always doing the food thing that was always part of it and do -- -- who went into freelancing back in the eighties I just sit on this is. This is obviously my specialty I'm gonna I'm good managers do this. And it's it's gotten along okay. It's gotten along great it's almost think abuse PH Indian food. And one a lot of these such a thing they're good that isn't but they're ought to be you know I listen to you all on the weekends and I really -- Williams I would listen to me now that's never going to happen which is why I don't know. But I did it -- and I'm I'm always I'm marvel at many things but one of them is is that. Rarely can anyone's throat you. Not on a restaurant -- food. And and that is to be admired I mean you had such a deep. History and knowledge. Of this area and food and food in general. We know it's. It's whatever you love if you learn -- about people who are sports fanatics can just spout out. Statistics on their favorite players and everything until the cows come home and that's kind of how I -- about eating injuring. Okay and now -- authority because how do we know that. Recent New York Times article were -- last couple days you are quoted. As saying -- -- yes it was a beautiful article and you really in the people in the world should feel very good about three positive but. You were quoted saying that New Orleans has 70%. More restaurants than it had before Katrina. And I thought -- -- yardage yes. Was there a moment after Katrina that you thought oh my gosh it's never going to be the same again. All absolutely. I mean there's no question about it -- we know who knew what was gonna happen I was evacuated at the time my wife and kids. We wound up in Washington DC. And I didn't know what was gonna happen so I was actually calling around -- you know radio stations and newspapers to see if I could get anything going sold a few freelance articles but not much. -- but then. I it it was it was pretty clear by the time I bought three weeks in. I had started something that seemed to be just the throw away and it's become almost like calling card now. Someone called or emailed me and said. Can you give me a list of restaurants that are open right now this was about maybe ten days after the hour and a wrote him back and I said you've got to be on your mind the city is completely closed officially -- disposed -- be here. And then I got to. Such messages as the next day and then for the day after that that kept on going. Geometrically upward and I said I better come up with a list here so I don't have to write all these letters. And I checked around and I found that there were 22 restaurants open this was about three weeks after in Orleans or this -- -- that there is the general New Orleans area. And I -- Sawyer put it on my website. And anybody who asked me I just sent them the link to that page and they could there was the the list. Well -- I kept adding to it is more restaurants open and keeping track of the number. And the day before Katrina according to the system we had 809 restaurants -- realist it's not coming fast food -- coming hot dog stands and gas stations and you know stuff like that but. Where they actually cook on premises and served on premises 809 restaurants as of this morning. We have thirteen 170. Six. How is it -- -- -- I actually wrote them down how is it possible. And we don't offense seemed costs we don't have the population we had even though were growing and we have a different population which is. It's a wonderful thing to -- eyes and mouths can enjoy great food at our tourism is back up. Wonderfully you know but for all of these to sustain themselves that's what I say how it was possible. Well one. Interesting thing that I bring -- -- to when. I was being interviewed by people from national media who would coming down here coverage. Cover the whole scene. Is that they they wanted to know about the little mom and pop restaurants around town. Because they figured that those would be who once it would be the hardest hit it would have the toughest time coming back in fact it was exactly the opposite. The restaurants that came back first with a little neighborhood joints and we have more poor boy shops and neighborhood. Places for everything from red beans and rice and gumbo and fried seafood too. Asian food -- kind Vietnamese and Thai and all the rest of that we have more of those than we've ever had. And it was the big deal restaurant particularly the ones in the French Quarter that we're really in trouble. And ones what went through a period where they weren't sure if they were ever gonna reopen -- right you can imagine that. You know luckily they did. Yeah was it it hit those where the restaurants that have the toughest time of it and I found it very difficult to. Convince these writers from other places that that was the case. It is I think that's one of the reasons we have just as so many more little place. We have many many questions for Tom Fitzmorris -- witnessed all this is Angela on them and we continued to John Houston all okay. And I also like to invite anybody to call it wants to talk to Tom that because they certainly do I know over the weekend calling you all the time you've got the Tom groupies. We were talking about Tom about. Do you have like a Ph.D. in food and I just sort of had this revelation. -- are calling you doctor food. What do you think in the I actually tried that a -- News. Thirty years ago while on the radio and the Boston kind of cut it out OK we will not do that if it was just an idea. What a good idea actually. We were talking about to about professor food professor food that's another. I think the whole world of food has. Just been expanded to not only in our wonderful community and as you say that we now have thirteen 176 restaurant. But nationally. And you could of course -- to this much more than nine but just as a layperson looking back saying only -- They have all these food shows shafts or like sexy people. You know if the whole image. Is is -- stars. And just sort of your thoughts on that -- And there's one really good thing about that and and I think the very best thing about it is that it has attracted a lot of intelligent. With that. Capable and ambitious people in the business of food service and hospitality. Because. The sky's the limit if you become a chef and you wanna make it to the top and you're willing to work together there you know legislate a star and almost any other arena. You can certainly do accumulate a guy like -- and look at it is that he came from very modest beginnings in and look what he's been able to accomplish in the same can be said about a lot of people in the business. This is a big big change. From what we had when I first started writing but this in which. Shots tended to be. Fairly new actually minimally educated I knew quite a few working for major restaurants who could not read or write and I'm not kidding. And the these guys would -- be back there they were very good what they did. But that he you know was kind of hard to get people into the business. When one of them died which they usually did they they stayed in until they die. -- now we have all these young people coming up to the point where. I think most restaurants are turning down more applications than they than they fulfill. Nothing you bring up a very good point in not in this week or this -- New Orleans magazine. Remain the chair of the -- for the year they think and Michael stole office from co captain ready -- and a wonderful young man. Great talent and he made a very interesting comment that once he started it's you know feeling the success he was -- of course asked to do many things. And finally realized that it was taking him away from the kitchen which is the source of his great success. And has sort of learn to sing a note to certain things still launcher participates in. But it is very interesting that said to me. We make them the superstars in the personalities and we want them because we like superstars and personalities. But he can't get away from the core which is good cooking and a and and and good operation of a restaurant let me ask you right off the bat have you ever. Had an experience where you that the surface was so bad or the food was so bad he just walked out. Oh you know all the time oh my gosh it. -- -- -- It it happens often enough I don't typically walk out on that but I stop eating which is about as bad -- and I wind up paying for. But the it's. That there's this does such a thing as a bad restaurant yeah. We don't have the relatively speaking not all that many of them the most of them you can see him come -- now before you even get here. And that really was another question on hand with your experience now when you go into a new restaurant he kinda have. Even unconscious set of criteria and you're saying a checklist this isn't gonna make it it's not gonna make for X reason why reason but it's not gonna cut. Well I've found that in my attempts to reject. Who is gonna make it who is not gonna make it my my track record is not very good description. What what. Makes the successful restaurants go. Is not necessarily. The same thing that makes successful restaurants good you can have a very successful restaurant without being good I could name you'll bunch. Is -- and a it's. And a solo but my temptation is. -- for example but. Ten years ago there was I think it was actually longer than that. There was a place that opened that I thought was so bad. That I said this one is gonna be out of business. And in the year I even gave a date I think I remember it and a friend of mine wrote me and said. You know and I don't think that's a good idea I think that's a mistake you should do that anymore. That's an okay and I haven't done that since. But as if in punishment that restaurant is still in business. I'm not -- name what it is but it's it just but boggles my mind that this places is that anybody would go. But there you go. Do you ever see any of the people you have criticized on the -- and and social gathering and they walk up and want to bring your neck. Pot yeah I can one guy tell me he was gonna kill me and dare I. And and if you knew the guy you would say you know that's credible. But. You think I I don't have really big enemies right now I think. I'm officially bans still from -- Paul's. I don't know why. I've never learned that but. But then again I go to K Paul's every now and then have always liked it -- give it four stars. And nothing has happened but I know for a wild. They would let me. Isn't that something I was gonna try Powell Henry Kissinger in kitchen to back together. I'd love. Not really what -- I mean you when you talk about the history of cuisine in New Orleans and Louisiana. There's a big big chapter that has to be written about Paul -- because he brought something to the table literally that's kind of almost corny joke is. That nobody else could have done or no and no one else has done it is was a very special. Influence. On the community in any still doing it. And I think on national. Nationally once he hit nationally with a very ups and yes stay with us were talking to Tom Fitzmorris but. Now let's go to -- names in the newsroom and we're talking with Tom Fitzmorris of his. Probably talked about and written about food. More than any person in the history of the world. I think this is the -- and -- I'm working on I know you -- and believe it or not not surprising link we have some callers so let's go to Michael had a question for John. They're probably visited the frequently. Which ones. Are the only fraud to review -- -- But a year gilligan's. Well yeah recently you know toward the support group -- will achieve that goal. Finished my. Is our question -- -- as a page but I didn't which is. This was terrible. Nothing that you would expect a lot in these. You know this. This is actually my experience. As long as far back as I can remember. So that that doesn't surprise me even a little bit you know what it strangely enough though. They're the location that they open a few years ago in the French Quarter is a much better restruct. In an and it gets your huge tourist business that they could get a lot of locals to but the one downtown has much better than -- but I'm in my opinion that's a good you can. Just troubled downtown and get that thank you Michael. Jennings. I hello hello. And thank -- cry and you. Say a lot. -- -- And west -- and again and -- and it that I was a huge huge huge. I don't. Fresh. And what did -- call a couple. How important look -- the company did. Did you want to web site. And -- get the next day. It's an undiscovered place absolutely. Knew about it but it can occur on the street it is unbelievable. It's -- good. I would say one of the best new restaurants of the last couple years in that neighborhood place really it's a monument. They really do good food there. It felt a woman there -- other place and they and devoted an agreed to serve as a great. Unbelievable content Blanchard to chime in on that because. -- got pregnant. And they're very delicious. And -- Think that -- very much for calling in sharing that yeah now we'll all definitely try to take another place talking in that area. On rampart street because of course for so many years I worked on rampart street. But I have loved. What has happened. With mobile which is then there of course often dreamy -- you know and I know that that don't it's fabulous but I genitalia and cheering for -- -- And that Marty's is back. All I'm I'm ecstatic about that especially because the guys that have taken and over are very seriously good. Restaurateurs suits of the people have been running go truce for the last 2030 years. And -- yeah I'm really happy to see them back. Kind of a resurgence or Renaissance has recalled that on rampart. We have another caller -- from applause. -- They're two quick questions one. I tried in -- that they made it from Maryland now dictate it pellet deference. But it seems to me you know outlook or distancing. It may not from here they are not in -- -- and also. That being yours which are you know. And -- him in and while we're noting still in good. Oh yeah. -- demons has always been really really good. In certain things. And really. Mediocre in some other ways I've never been nuts about there Italian food or Italian red sauce kind of food. But the seafood is always been good you can go in -- get a soft shell -- board of -- year extra on -- being it's like that that's always going to be guys. Always like their daily specials that the beef Stew and Tuesday the red -- with the Italian sausage on Monday. And you know why I like -- a lot I think it's it's a great tradition and they still have that cadre of all old guys in suits holding the bar all night long and you know we need somebody to do. 00 yeah absolutely same same family that started instilled. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Kathy with a -- Yuri K but OK okay that makes a difference. And I was -- golf is -- fit into the new ranking in counties since -- in the open. They they opened exactly six days ago which is a little too soon for me I have a kind of a general policy that I don't go to new restaurants at the -- and a few months. This you know -- this is no matter how Smart they are no matter how good they are there's always a few things that are unexpected you never know what's gonna happen so I let it go. I have talked to a couple people on my radio show who say that they you know had been have been in that it was terrific so it's great to have them back against different people you know. God with that than the ones that were running -- I was never a big fan of it before. So I'm hoping it is as good as everybody's saying. Thank you can't pitch calling and -- again stay with -- -- you have some other callers and we have some of the questions for Tom Fitzmorris I'm Angela -- -- anyway. Tom Fitzmorris are very special guest today and we do have some callers and I want to hang on but. Very quickly Tom I recently read a study about what bothered people most. Concerning their restaurant experience and number one. Is noise. And I bring that up because literally my husband and I have made the conscious decision. Not to go to certain restaurants we'd love love their food because we can't take the noise. And I just wonder am I know we're not alone. Clearly. When -- -- -- -- ailment willow but what isn't that restaurants we've asked people to turn music minutes ago you enjoy the food and to talk. I couldn't agree were you more and when I tell you what is motivating this you might not believe me but it's true. They aired the restaurant industry does that on purpose they are literally building restaurants to be very lively with their acoustics. And to be sold loud that it is uncomfortable for you to linger on particularly after dinner. Or even in the middle of dinner and talk instead of eating. So they can turn the tables over and get some of the people in there quicker. That's the long and the short of it it's really true and they are doing it intentionally although with all over the place I'm disappointed I'm very deceptive you know do anything as well you'll want to -- but you know it's it's. I hope you win this business gets to be where it's all about profit with -- a great. -- on the comfort and enjoyment of the customers you know that's a bad turn. It's a bad turn let's go back to some of fur collars and Jim and Bay Saint Louis you've been holding on. Agency just look at that spot and a couple of real but it does bring back some memories. When you got used to it and also you look at in my brain and cargo. -- And some. I haven't -- a few years ago. Yes it sure -- but I no obvious and I know the friendliness as -- -- anyway which uses a bright woman and and did you know what my favorite restaurants are actually -- -- -- Mississippi the end. They're a bit too much favorite restaurants in this enough. And out -- it's called boxing too. And it's down by mark Patton and these demands for about fifty years. He had everything the -- -- in the week that we bought and it's delicious since. It actually -- a little combo and that's why he's still in business -- -- consistent and it suited his. Very. Nick prices and stuff like that so if you never visited before YouTube has been -- You'll. The Picayune and it's like if you get off there instead -- go back toward. Still Mississippi go back for eleven. Right there on eleven. Jeff I thank you so much I really thank you for this as a as I know Tom does to we have to go to our new term very quickly for news update with Don. Well Tom you know this wonderful business we're -- we're down to the final minutes. And I just wanted to know in that final minute what you're most excited about it. When it comes to food happening in this community. What -- what I love is that we are eating our food the unique. Cuisine the unique flavors of this area putting a lot of emphasis. On the local products that -- -- so well here that's what's making it all happened I think. Absolutely I thank you for this hour I really do and I admire you and I applaud you and happy eating. Thank you Tom Fitzmorris now I salute you thank you let's go back to the newsroom and done it.

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