Mosquito Supper Club with Melissa Martin and Lisa Donovan
Where: Museum of Food and Drink
62 Bayard St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn
718-387-2845 Price: Reserved Ticket & Copy of Mosquito Supper Club, $65; Ticket Only $15
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Join chef-authors Melissa Martin and Lisa Donovan for a conversation celebrating the publication of Mosquito Supper Club: Cajun Recipes from a Disappearing Bayou. While meaningful as a book of recipes inspired by and intended for home cooks, it also sets the record straight about Cajun culture and shines a light on the culinary impact of climate change. Melissa and Lisa will discuss their experiences as women—and as mothers—building their careers in the restaurant industry; their shared interest in the cultural forces that shape cuisine; Melissa’s experience growing up on the bayou and her efforts to preserve the stories and recipes of this culture before it disappears to rising sea levels and changing economic conditions.
About Mosquito Supper Club, named a Best New Cookbook of Spring 2020 by Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, NPR’s The Splendid Table, Eater, Epicurious, and more.
For anyone who loves Cajun food or is interested in American cooking or wants to discover a distinct and engaging new female voice–or just wants to make the very best duck gumbo, shrimp jambalaya, she-crab soup, crawfish étouffée, smothered chicken, fried okra, oyster bisque, and sweet potato pie–comes Mosquito Supper Club.
Named after her restaurant in New Orleans, chef Melissa M. Martin’s debut cookbook shares her inspired and reverent interpretations of the traditional Cajun recipes she grew up eating on the Louisiana bayou, with a generous helping of stories about her community and its cooking. Every hour, Louisiana loses a football field’s worth of land to the Gulf of Mexico. Too soon, Martin’s hometown of Chauvin will be gone, along with the way of life it sustained. Before it disappears, Martin wants to document and share the recipes, ingredients, and customs of the Cajun people.
Illustrated throughout with dazzling color photographs of food and place, the book is divided into chapters by ingredient–from shrimp and oysters to poultry, rice, and sugarcane. Each begins with an essay explaining the ingredient and its context, including traditions like putting up blackberries each February, shrimping every August, and the many ways to make an authentic Cajun gumbo. Martin brings a female perspective to a world we’ve only heard about from men. The stories she tells come straight from her own life, and yet in this age of climate change and erasure of local cultures, they feel universal, moving, and urgent.
Melissa M. Martin grew up on the Louisiana coast and has lived in New Orleans for 20 years. After graduating from Loyola University in New Orleans, she worked as an adult literacy teacher until she evacuated to Northern California during Hurricane Katrina. While living there, she worked at some of the top Napa Valley vineyards and restaurants, honing her self-taught culinary skills to a professional level. Martin returned to New Orleans three years later and opened Satsuma Café, a casual farm-to-table restaurant, and worked at Café Hope, a nonprofit restaurant, teaching at-risk youth to cook seasonal food. In 2014, she opened Mosquito Supper Club, where she serves family-style meals to small groups of guests Find her on Instagram @mosquitosupperclub.
Lisa Donovan has redefined what it means to be a “southern baker” as the pastry chef to some of the South’s most influential chefs, including Margot McCormack, Tandy Wilson, and Sean Brock. Unabashedly serving her church cakes and pies to finish fine-dining experiences, she has been formative in establishing a technique-driven and historically rich narrative of southern pastry. Donovan received a James Beard Award for her writing in Food & Wine, where she is a regular contributor, and she has been a featured speaker at René Redzepi’s globally renowned MAD Symposium. Our Lady of Perpetual Hunger is her first book.