Chefs Cody and Samantha (Sam) Carroll will soon share a taste of Louisiana cooking with the rest of the country. The husband-and-wife duo star in Food Network’s new series, Cajun Aces. The owners of Hot Tails in New Roads and Sac-A-Lait in the New Orleans Warehouse District, the Carrolls filmed the show’s first four episodes premiering Dec. 2 and Dec. 9.
The Carrolls still remember when they got the Facebook message. They were on their way to work at a crawfish boil when a production company contacted them. Before they knew it, they were interviewing with the company on Skype and being asked to film their lives for a week on a handheld camera. Food Network reviewed those clips, then sent a professional camera crew to capture the Carrolls in action farming, hunting, crawfishing and cooking.
That footage was a hit. The production company told the Carrolls it was one of their fastest projects to be green lit for a pilot. Then, before the pilot could even air, Food Network bought the show’s first season. So far four episodes have been filmed, and more could be added pending ratings.
Cajun Aces follows the Carrolls from the farm—or, in one episode, the waters of Grand Isle—to the kitchen. After gathering ingredients, the Carrolls test recipes.
“We’re practicing on camera,” Cody says. “If we mess it up, we mess it up. It was all from scratch.”
He and Sam then prepare down-home-style dishes at the more casual Hot Tails before creating “the modern version” at Sac-A-Lait. The Carrolls challenge themselves to cook with ingredients that “come into season at the same time,” Cody says, such as wild boar and figs.
Cody grew up on a farm in Batchelor that produces soybeans, corn, milo, figs and satsumas. His father grows crops like purple peas and okra. Crawfish, pigs and chickens (his grandmother’s) are also raised on the farm. Sam, a Gonzales native, had never seen food harvested before Cody brought her to the family farm while the two were students at the Louisiana Culinary Institute. Now, she’s as keen as he is to source farm-fresh ingredients.
Cajun Aces will reveal the processes behind sourcing and harvesting foods. Cody describes the show as educational, fast-paced and upbeat. “It’s really [about] showing the rest of the country how much fun we have cooking and how much people in Louisiana really love cooking our old-school dishes,” he says. “It’s so exciting to show the world our amazing food culture.”
Cajun Aces episode schedule
“Crawfish and Mirliton”
Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m.
“Pigs and Figs”
Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m.
“Turkey and Pecans”
Saturday, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m.
“Redfish and Okra”
Saturday, Dec. 9, at 6:30 p.m.