Nola’s Kitchen Celebrates Anniversary

A Steiner Ranch cajun chef celebrates his first year in business after relocating to Austin after Hurricane Katrina wiped out his restaurant in New Orleans.

From the Hill Country News:

A Steiner Ranch cajun chef celebrates his first year in business after relocating to Austin after Hurricane Katrina wiped out his restaurant in New Orleans.

Chef Mike Thompson launched Nola Kitchen a year ago where he does in-home and on-site cooking demos. He brings in ingredients, pots and pans, and he entertains guests while cooking cajun and creole food.

“I’m excited to celebrate my first year,” Thompson said. He was inspired to cook by the ladies in his family who instilled in him a desire not to let the recipes go.

Some of those recipes include the things he cooks at parties: Oysters Rockefeller, Louisiana boiled shrimp with remoulade, Brie en Croute, crawfish canapes, crawfish etouffee, crab avocado and mango salsa, boudin, and pralines.

“We’ve always lived to eat. We discuss what we’ll eat for lunch while we are eating breakfast,” Thompson said.

Nola Kitchen, which gets its name from New Orleans, La., has cooked for a long list of groups and functions including wine groups, the Texas Civil Rights Group, local schools and University of Texas tailgate parties.

Prices vary depending on the menu but start around $25 per person.

Nola Kitchen also caters events and has had weddings in  Lago Vista, Lakeway and Cedar Park.

Thompson has worked on more than 100 weddings in his career, which started in 1988.

He went to culinary school at Johnson & Wales University in Vail, Colo. He was the recipient of  the University Director’s Distinguished Graduate Award, the school’s highest award for culinary and academic excellence.

He used his formal training and experience in all types of cuisine cooking in Vail and then St. Louis. He and his family then returned to their South Louisiana home where he opened Chef du Jour in 2001. But a few years later, Hurricane Katrina changed everything.

Thompson joined the leadership team of Whole Foods Market during his family’s evacuation in Baton Rouge. He moved back to New Orleans to re-open the storm-damaged Whole Foods store on Veterans Boulevard.

He and his family relocated to Austin with Whole Foods.

Last year he launched Nola Kitchen to get back to his first love.

In addition to cooking, Thompson is an Elvis impersonator who rides with 30 or so others on the Elvis Float during the Tucks Parade in New Orleans. This year the parade is on March 5, the Saturday before Mardi Gras.

For more information visit nolakitchen.com