Grandma-trained chef spices up Houston
August 12th, 2011
08:00 AM ET
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This summer, CNN's Defining America project is traveling the country with the CNN Express bus and iReport to explore the stories behind the data and demographics that show how places are changing.

To hear Lakesha Reed describe her cooking talents she's not classically trained as a chef, "I'm just grandma trained."

Reed, a New Orleans native, moved to Houston, Texas, in 2005 as one of the city’s thousands of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. We met her last month when CNN’s Defining America project hit the trail for Texas to find out how the Lone Star State has changed over the past decade.

At her Beaucoup Bar & Grill, Reed brings a little bit of the Big Easy to Oil Town USA. By that we mean traditional New Orleans food, like gumbo, po boy sandwiches - and her grandma's special recipe - crawfish bread.

If you like a little taste of N'awlins, the ingredients of Reed's crawfish bread recipe will sound like poetry. It's an open-faced loaf topped with with sauteed onions, tomatoes, celery and garlic, slow cooked in cream sauce.

Then add the tasty crawfish tails and top 'em with more cheese than a Barry Manilow concert.

Take a bite out of that, and what you have is what Reed calls a "party for no reason" - one of the hallmarks of New Orleans culture.

"The problem I had when I moved here was there was just nothing authentic - nothing true that like you could get at the corner store back home," Reed says. "This is authentic food based on the stuff from my grandmother that I ate growing up in my house."

It's all part of the theme of her restaurant, says Reed: "Food, music and making people feel that everything is all right."

Read New Orleans: The food that got them through and A Secret Supper in the Big Easy

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Filed under: Cuisines • Defining America • Feature • New Orleans • New Orleans • Texas • Travel

soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Bernardina Banwell

    As I site possessor I believe the content material here is rattling great , appreciate it for your efforts. You should keep it up forever! Good Luck.

    August 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  2. j3d

    Ate here. Microwave cheese sticks combined with the few authentic things on the menu. Horrible, uncaring service. Even worse location. If CNN, or any new outfit, wants to do an uplifting story about N.O. food moving to if much of that food wasn't here decades before the your homework. This place ain't it.

    What this article is seriously lacking is addressing the insult and disrespect to the existing black communties that are, and were already here in Houston, and their history, and their culture, and their pride when you prop up some cookie cutter cafe serving microwave cheesesticks as authentic N.O. food. As if Katrina was the only way cajun and creole food ever made it to Texas? And not simply major chains and franchises, but real deal people, and chefs, and musicians who are here, and have been here for decades. More than a century, perhaps.

    Even worse, the great offense the existing black community took to the outpouring of handouts and freebies to the evacuees (the red cross check cards being used at strip clubs and bars, for example), when the existing needy community here had never been given such unregulated attention. As if there weren't black (or any color) people suffering in Houston prior to Katrina, who weren't just as deserving as the ridiculous amount of charity these people (in many cases thanklessly) received.

    But hey....ask me what I really think....

    August 14, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
  3. Greta

    Great advertising. This story will definitely send new patrons through her door... be ready to catch the ball, stay organized, hire and pay trusted professionals to advise you and ignore your haters. If ever in houston, I'll be visiting. Yum.

    August 13, 2011 at 10:26 am |
  4. norman

    Maybe I'll look for this next time I'm in town.

    August 13, 2011 at 9:03 am |
  5. hammeredtoe

    enough already with the storiies about how gypsy ni66uhs are roving everywhere to spread trouble and mayhem to big US cities!!! CNN should know that life exists above NI66UHS!!!

    August 13, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • Perryboy

      Hahaha!!! You're funny sir, but they're doing better in life than you. You're just a jealous ni66uh. Why don't you get a life and quit all that beer drinking and snuff dipping. Low life tra$h.

      August 13, 2011 at 9:05 am |
  6. Gary

    Great Food in bad neighborhood. Someone stole my hubcaps while eating.

    August 13, 2011 at 6:55 am |
    • Perryboy

      Hubcaps??? If you had hubcaps on car you're too old to be eating that type of food anyways. I think they did you a favor. Im sure you're just LYING!!!

      August 13, 2011 at 8:55 am |
      • Greta

        LOL! "Hubcaps". It's "Rims" Grandpa. LOL! (and I'm 51...)

        August 13, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  7. Hmmm

    Those look like Ghandi's flip flops!

    August 13, 2011 at 4:57 am |
  8. Tom Sawyer

    Those look like my flip flops from 1995, baked on the Texas coast, South Padre Island

    August 13, 2011 at 4:03 am |
  9. Houstonian

    She must have been one of the few who actually got their lives together and went to work after landing here. Good for her! But, leave Barry out of the description and just tell me what kind of cheese she uses.

    August 12, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
  10. Multi-Tasking @ Work

    looks so yummy...anything that Grandma made was made with love

    August 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  11. Erika Estrada

    I know, right? the colors in that dish alone made me want to eat it, I didnt even care what the ingrediants are! never had crawfish, but i would absolutely try it, if it tastes as good as it looks!

    August 12, 2011 at 9:30 am |
  12. Jerv

    Good read. Not a huge fan of seafood but based on the description, and especially that photo, I'd try crawfish bread.

    August 12, 2011 at 8:07 am |
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