Jambalaya greets air travelers in New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans Airport is spicing up its dining. Three new restaurants and seven new food carts, with the emphasis on South Louisiana cuisine, have opened.

One, called Legends, has introduced a new concept in airport food: Celebrity chefs are brought in, adding items to the menu and helping train culinary students there.

"Our goal is to provide food that is a cut above anything you could buy at any other airport in the country," said Joe Taylor, general manager for CA One Services here, which run the airport's food and beverage operation.

"The [New Orleans] Aviation Authority told us to get rid of the bland airport food and put in great South Louisiana cuisine. That's what we are trying to do," he said.

CA One entered into partnerships with the local chapter of the American Culinary Institute and Delgado Community College to bring in chefs and interns. It is also providing scholarships. Chefs will rotate every three months or so at Legends, which is in the West Lobby.

The current chef is Duke LoCicero of the French Quarter's Cafe Giovanni, whose additions to the menu include such items as pasta gambino and Cajun duck breast with cranberry orange glaze.

The other two new restaurants are:

  • Jester's Grill in Concourse D, which offers traditional South Louisiana fare, including red beans and rice; gumbo, and jambalaya wraps.
  • The Creole Carvery in Concourse C, which features such items as white beans and ham; mixed greens and cornbread, and Creole cabbage and chicken.
  • The new food carts include Creole-Cajun Express, which features local hot dog versions, including craw dogs, Cajun dogs, Creole dogs and gator dogs.

    To celebrate the openings, the airport held "The Flavors of New Orleans International Airport" for the public on Dec. 12. Free food was provided at the airport's 22 restaurants and food carts.

    There also was live entertainment. Drawings were held for prizes that included airline tickets.

    CA One operates more than 300 food service and retail facilities at more than 30 U.S. airports.

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