Local Attorney And Cultural Product Entrepreneur Kara Johnson Turns Heirloom Family Recipes into "The Cook Shop" Seasonings
New Spice Line Launches this Week in Rouses Stores throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama
(New Orleans) Local attorney and “Casual Connoisseur” Kara Johnson credits her family for her new line of Creole and Cajun seasonings.
“My great great grandmother, Marie Meteye Reveal, and her husband Joseph, owned a restaurant in the French Quarter in the early 1900’s,” Johnson said. "The Cook Shop served mouth-watering Creole dishes, recipes passed down in her family for generations, dating back almost 300 years.”
Kara, a working mother, wanted to pass on the tradition of great food to her young son, but she needed to find a way to create Creole and Cajun dishes without the time-consuming preparations. “I wanted to make cooking simple and easy. My goal was to figure out how I could give my son some of what I experienced growing up, but without spending hours in the kitchen,” she said.
So, Kara experimented with vegetable-based seasonings. She hired renowned Chef Gason Yen Nelson to help her capture in the seasonings her family's cooking traditions and a taste of New Orleans. The results are two flavors, Cajun and Creole. The Cajun seasoning has what is known in Catholic Louisiana as "the holy trinity:" a seasoning base of onion, bell pepper and celery. These vegetables are the foundation for countless Louisiana recipes. The Creole uses a tomato base. Tomatoes are used consistently in Creole dishes and help to separate New Orleans’ Creole cuisine from the rest of Louisiana cooking. Both of these distinct seasonings contain the herbs and spices used in so many of her family’s recipes.
This line helps to create delicious dishes quick, fast, and in a hurry. “You don’t have to spend your time chopping onions anymore,” Kara said. “All of your basics are already in the seasonings. You can use each one alone, mix them together or add whatever you like. Let the seasonings do the work." she said.
“ It’s almost as good as having your own personal chef.”