Do You Roux?

In just a few days, Francisco and I will be headed to New Orleans, where we’ll be joining up with the Culinary Corps, “The Peace Corps for Cooks.”

Francisco will be forming part of the Corps’ chef team, working with local cooks, restauranteurs, volunteers, students, and community members, while I document the group’s work and share other stories from New Orleans.

In preparation for the trip, which will focus primarily on local foods, Francisco stood over the stove with a whisk and practiced his roux-making skills this evening. Roux is a mandatory skill for New Orleans chefs, and his first try–prepping the roux for a gumbo of okra, andouille sausage, and chicken–was a success, turning the color of a long-worn wedding band, just as writer Sara Roahen says a good roux should.

As each new ingredient was added to the gumbo, the kitchen was infused with a different smell, and after the ingredient had a chance to marry with the gumbo, Francisco crossed the length of the kitchen floor with a steaming spoon of the simmering Louisiana stew as I sat at the dining room table and typed. “Try it now,” he said, smiling a little bit bigger each time.

In the coming days, we’ll be posting some pre-New Orleans news, but in the meantime, be sure to visit Christine Carroll’s Culinary Corps website and learn more about this fantastic organization. If you are as impressed as we are by the passion and vision Christine brings to her work in New Orleans and the world, please consider making a donation of any amount to Culinary Corps by visiting Firstgiving.

Photo: Zeal Harris (creative commons)

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Julie Schwietert Collazo

Julie Schwietert Collazo and Francisco Collazo. For more information, please contact us: e-mail:

2 thoughts on “Do You Roux?”

  1. The last time I was in New Orleans was about 10 years ago, but Francisco has never been, so we’re really looking forward to being there together.

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