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4th Annual “A Taste of New Orleans” Spices up the Palestine Main Street District

Taste of NOLA 2016

Palestine, Texas- The sound of jazz and the tastes of New Orleans return to the Main Street District of Palestine, Texas on Saturday, January 30th, 2016 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. during A Taste of New Orleans.

A Taste of New Orleans is an annual celebration of Louisiana-style cuisine, hosted by downtown businesses in their historic buildings, which showcases the talents of local chefs, culinary instructors and restaurateurs and offers a taste of local and regional wineries. Starting at 11 a.m. and rolling until 4 p.m., there will be culinary demonstrations approximately every hour.

“This is a great opportunity to showcase the culinary talent of our local chefs, celebrate the cuisine inspired by New Orleans, and kick off Mardi Gras in the Historic Palestine Main Street District,” stated Greg Laudadio, with Economic Development and Main Street for the City of Palestine. “Palestine has become a destination for tourists interested in great food and wine, historic architecture and the unique shopping experience in our Main Street District. A Taste of New Orleans brings all of these attractions together. Add to that a first class Mardi Gras parade that kicks off at 5 p.m. and everyone is sure to have a great day in downtown Palestine.”

Schedule of Food Demonstrations:

11:00 a.m. Chef Mimi Spreen, PISD Director of Dining Services

Chef Mimi Spreen, a graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, CA worked as the Pastry Chef at Wente Vineyards in Livermore, CA, a small, family owned winery. She created and served desserts in the restaurant, while specializing in wedding cakes. Returning to Texas, Mimi worked as Pastry Chef with Levy Restaurants at Texas Motor Speedway. Serving thousands of patrons during the NASCAR races, Chef Mimi also catered to the club members at the Speedway Club restaurant. Currently, she is the Director of Dining Services for the Palestine Independent School District, which is operated by Chartwells Food Services.

Chef Mimi will be demonstrating Bread Pudding with a Warm Whiskey sauce.

Demo located inside Lee Loveless Photography, 101 W. Oak


12:00 p.m. Chef Christian Mailloux, Executive Chef and Owner Red Fire Grille

Executive Chef Christian Mailloux, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, is Chef-Owner of Red Fire Grille. Chef Christian has had the opportunity to cook regional American cuisine from as far north as New England down into the heartland of Memphis, Tennessee and as far south as St. Thomas U.S.V.I. at prestigious country clubs and boutique restaurants. With the chef’s extensive knowledge of wine and food pairing, Red Fire Grille is committed to sourcing the region’s finest ingredients, preparing an evolving menu and offering the perfect wine complement. He was recently featured in the 2013 Best Chefs America book.

Chef Christian will be demonstrating Stuffed Deviled Crab.

Demo located inside Redlands Historic Inn, 400 N. Queen St.


1:00 p.m. Chef Simon Webster, Chef and Owner Sabor a Pasión Estate and Vineyard

Chef Simon Webster

Born in England and raised in New Zealand, Chef Webster was classically trained at the New Zealand Culinary Institute through the City & Guilds of London & apprenticed with some of the finest chefs in the area. His experience in the kitchen spans 40 years and includes chef and developer for 5 star restaurants in New Zealand, chef and food and beverage manager for prestigious wine bars and pubs in London and Manchester, catering consultant for Nestle corporation, first class chef for BMI Airlines and owner of his own restaurant & catering company in Derbyshire, England & now the United States.

He opened Sabor a Pasion in 2004, and single-handedly transformed it into an East Texas culinary destination that offers a restaurant, bed & breakfast, event center, wedding venue, catering headquarters and vineyard. The venue offers casual fine dining, romantic vineyard weddings, facilities for private dining and parties, relaxing B&B with beautiful views, culinary instruction and a unique experience, unlike anywhere in East Texas.

Guests have come from across America & around the world to visit Sabor a Pasion. Some come just to relax and unwind while others enjoy guided hunting & fishing trips in the great outdoors of East Texas. No matter the excursion, they all experience the great flavors from Chef Webster’s kitchen. Known throughout the area, for his attention to personal service and detail to food and flavor – guests leave Sabor a Pasion feeling like they experienced something unique and special.

Chef Webster will be demonstrating Crawfish Chowder.

Christine Gardner

Cookbook author, freelance writer, food photographer, chef instructor and television host for FRESH Ideas on KYTX-CBS19. For four years, Christine Gardner, as the Food Editor for The Tyler Morning Telegraph and was responsible for the weekly FLAVOR section, which contained recipes, tips and stories that she created, styled and photographed. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu, she apprenticed with a chef in Sorrento, Italy on the picturesque Amalfi Coast. There she learned to utilize the simple techniques and fresh ingredients the Italian culture uses to create delicious, handmade food. A degree in journalism from Texas A&M and a career in creative services and television production with Fox Sports led her professional journey across the country and into the kitchen where she combines a variety of cultural influences, the best ingredients and simple technique to create a myriad of flavor. Her cookbook “Favorite FLAVOR” contains over 125 recipes and 100 color photos. It compiles the best and most-talked about recipes created by Christine for the Tyler newspaper. She will also be releasing a new cookbook in 2016 that features recipes designed for Texas-style entertaining. The book will feature 11 party themes and menus that offer recipes, décor and entertaining tips from a Texas cowgirl point-of-view. Her cooking classes are a popular activity at Sweet Gourmet in Tyler and Sabor a Pasion in Palestine. She also provides culinary tours to the Amalfi coast in Italy where guests stay in a private villa and attend classes taught by Gardner and other chefs. Many other culinary excursions are also planned throughout the trip.

Christine will be demonstrating Mardi Gras Meringues.

Demo located at Granny Muffin Wines & Texas Art Depot, 301 W. Oak.


2:15 p.m. Michele Merryman, Culinary Instructor

Michele is a city-girl with a Southern heart that has a need to entertain. Michele grew up in Houston, Texas and graduated from the Dedman School of Hospitality at Florida State University. Upon graduation, she headed for Atlanta, GA where she spent many years in the private club industry, and worked for several Fortune 500 companies. Her desire to be around family, led her back to the Lone Star State, and Palestine, where her father is a native son. Since her arrival in East Texas, Michele has been a guest on FRESH Ideas CBS 19, hosted multiple cooking demonstrations at FRESH in Tyler, featured recipes in Tyler Morning Telegraph Food Section, is the cooking instructor for O’Sweet Pea’s Kitchen Boutique, Business Management Instructor at the Palestine High School, Golf Course Manager at the Wildcat Golf Course a private caterer and, of course, home entertainer.

Michelle will be demonstrating Shrimp Creole Crostinis.

Demo located inside Lee Loveless Photography, 101 W. Oak


3:15 p.m. Chef Jackson York, Executive Chef at Lakeview Methodist Conference Center

Chef Jackson’s passion for cooking started as child growing up in his traditional Italian family and it has continues to be the driving force in his life. From his start in a prestigious Atlanta, GA hotel kitchen, where he was mentored by the head chef, through his time with MAGIC PAN as a trainer, to CLUB CORP where he refined his palate with Chef Leroi Blanchard CEC, AAC, Chef Jackson has pursued his passion for fine food. He credits the American Culinary Federation (ACF) as the best place he gained knowledge on numerous topics and levels, as he was never formally trained. More recently, his culinary journey has led him to the East Texas region and The Edom Bakery & Grill, where Chef Jackson developed the concept of “Country Gourmet.” While in Edom he created an eight-week cooking course that concluded with a formal graduation and diplomas. He then began his tenure at Lakeview Methodist Conference Center just south of Palestine. Chef Jackson has held many leadership positions with the local ACF & Texas Chefs Association (TCA) and is committed to the community and giving back. He was involved in helping local region schools with the program PROSTART. The local chapters cover more than three counties and more than 12 schools in the East Texas area. The ACF & TCA allow him to network with fellow chefs and to pass along knowledge garnered over the years to young future culinarians. This past summer, Chef Jackson was inducted into the American Academy of Chefs (AAC), the honor society of the American Culinary Federation (ACF).

Chef Jackson will be demonstrating Bananas Foster over Ice Cream.

Demo located inside Lee Loveless Photography, 101 W. Oak.


Directly following the culinary demonstrations, the Annual Palestine Mardi Gras Parade will start rolling through the Main Street District at 5 p.m. This parade is presented by “The Mystics of Time” and will start at the historic Anderson County Courthouse, proceed through downtown and finish at the Palestine Visitor Center. A map of the parade route will be available on the Palestine Main Street Face Book page.

For more information visit, or call the Palestine Visitor Center at (903) 723-3014.

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