Summertime usually means sparse lunch crowds at New Orleans restaurants. But instead of resigning to afternoons of empty tables, Chef Guillermo Peters had a better idea: "Why don't we educate our customers and potential customers about our cuisine?"
That was the beginning of a summer cooking class series at Peters' Garden District eatery, Taqueros Coyoacán (1432 St. Charles Ave., 525-9996; www.taqueroscoyoacan.com). The chef had held successful classes in the past and felt a regular class schedule would be a good alternative to slow lunch days.
Foodies and cooking novices alike can benefit from the classes, which range from tamale making to how to properly boil water. Culinary experience aside, the classes can suit anyone who wants to learn something new -- and delicious.
"People get bored with what they're doing," says Peters. "They say, 'I'm just tired of the same flavors.' And I say, 'You've come to the right place, because that's what I do -- flavor.' That's what I'm passionate about."
Classes also cross other culinary borders with sous chef Lowen Thomas, who brings his expertise in Asian cuisine to the Taqueros tables. His classes feature instruction on basic Asian sauces and marinades, sushi and a staple of Asian cuisine: noodles.
Taqueros Coyoacán has come a long way since its humble beginnings as Taqueros, a small taqueria in a Kenner strip mall that served Mexican cuisine on paper plates to a mostly Latino clientele. But word of Kenner's best-kept secret eventually spread, and the restaurant began to attract Uptown food connoisseurs and visiting chefs looking for good food outside the New Orleans restaurant scene.
To better reach his new clientele, Peters found a St. Charles Avenue location that became Taqueros & Coyoacán, a dual restaurant venture that housed experimental Mesoamerican dishes upstairs, and more casual fare, such as tacos and burritos, downstairs. But a post-Katrina personnel shortage ultimately caused the two venues to consolidate into what is now Taqueros Coyoacán, which serves a combination of the two cuisines. Peters hopes, however, to one day reopen Coyoacán -- the fine dining, upstairs part of the restaurant -- and once again have a home for his trademark experimental dishes.
- Cheryl Gerber
- Guillermo Peters shares his culinary expertise at Taqueros Coyoacan.