Between two of her cookbooks, Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic, And Can You Make A Roux?, and its sequel of the same name, Marcelle Bienvenu offers 7 recipes for gumbo—from a relatively common chicken and oyster gumbo recipe, to one for a decidedly obscure grimille gumbo. That alone should justify her story on our Gumbo Trail, though Marcelle comes with yet more credibility. Before turning 30, while living in New York City, she helped craft two now-historical books on Louisiana gastronomy for Time-Life Books. Marcelle’s career then veered back toward her home state of Louisiana, specifically its restaurants: she worked at Commander’s Palace and K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen in New Orleans before opening her own place, Chez Marcelle, in Acadiana. For the past few decades, Marcelle has written several cookbooks, freelanced for national food magazines, taught cooking at Nicholls State University, and maintained a recipe column in The Times-Picayune, the New Orleans-area newspaper. She lives on Bayou Teche in St. Martinville, where she cooks for entertainment year-round, occasionally burns a roux, and mostly enjoys gumbo in the wintertime.
Date of interview:
July 7, 2008