Just to cut right to the chase: The five-course menu that Chef Blake Jackson is preparing for “Up in Smoke”, his 318 Restaurant Week event at King Hardware on Saturday, March 18, is one of the most unique event menus that I’ve seen in years. Tickets for “Up in Smoke” are available now and can be purchased here – only 60 are available.
Here are the dishes that caught my eye:
grilled hearts of romaine with flash-fried jalapeño peppers and charred corn vinaigrette
beef and chow chow dumplings in smoked chicken consommé
ancho chile salmon on white cheddar cornbread blinis
smoked pork osso bucco with caramelized root veggies over blue corn grits
bananas Foster pudding with smoked whipped cream
“My style is Nouveau Louisiane cuisine,” Jackson says. “We’re taking Southern dishes that I grew up with and putting modern techniques and international flavors into those things.”
The familiar flavors in Jackson’s cooking remain intact, no matter how much he gussies them up. In the beef and chow chow dumplings, I definitely tasted that classic flavor of North Louisiana chow chow—the kind that my mamaw would spoon into her black-eyed peas. Only, my mamaw would never have thought to roll that chow chow up in a Chinese-inspired dumpling.
“If you look at every one of the dishes that we’re doing, they’ve got that flavor of home,” Jackson says. “Behind all of the layers of frou-frou and delicate, there’s a real sense of North Louisiana.”
Jackson is known to many as the winner of the 2016 Louisiana Food Prize‘s Battle of the Golden Fork. He is also one Shreveport-Bossier’s most popular catering chefs—Jackson is owner and chef at Drake Catering.
For “Up in Smoke”, which is one of 12 special dining experiences taking place during 318 Restaurant Week, he wanted to take the idea of a smoked food experience beyond the realm of barbecue. He wanted to have the kind of fun that he doesn’t always get to have as a chef who caters lots of weddings and parties.
In addition to the five courses that Jackson is preparing for “Up in Smoke,” there will be bourbon pairings throughout the night as well as tastings of local food and drink products that are available for purchase at King Hardware. The evening will be hosted by man-about-town Ian Summers.
Currently, Jackson is engaged in the hard work of selecting bourbons to pair with each course.
“I plan on drinking a lot of bourbon to figure those pairings out,” he says.
Purchase tickets to “Up in Smoke”.
Like the 318 Restaurant Week Facebook page.
Enter the 318 Restaurant Week giveaway for prizes from Robinson Film Center, Louisiana Boardwalk Outlets, Fully Stacked and more.