Alberta Williams was born on June 28, 1937 in Waterproof, Louisiana, “about 40 miles on the other side of Natchez, Mississippi.” She had three sisters and two brothers, and learned to cook from her grandmother. “Growing up in the country you had to cook…we made soul food; things like hominy and scrambled eggs, corn pone, monkey bread and greens.” In 1955 she moved to New Orleans with her kids and her “ol’ man,” who took a job at the riverfront. Aged 18, Alberta went to Hayes Chicken Shack and though told by the owner that she was just a “country girl,” she convinced him to let her work for free for the week. A successfully catered party where all the food got gobbled up earned her big thanks, a new job and even a bonus. She moved on to various restaurants over the years, getting experience with lots of different foods, especially seafood.
In 1969, Alberta answered an ad for a nanny but cooked for the family out of boredom. The family eventually recruited her to make all the family’s meals – red beans and rice, seafood gumbo, jambalaya, hot sausage sandwiches, crawfish etouffée…you name it! When the family’s friends came for dinner parties, the party always moved from the dining room into the kitchen and guests would eat right out of the pot. The family grew up on Cajun and Creole food, literally eating for dinner nightly what people travel to New Orleans to enjoy in the finest restaurants.
In 1978, she “ran away” to Las Vegas and got a job at the Aladdin Hotel as a cook, making salads and cooking for room service. She remembers meeting Redd Foxx and Rodney Dangerfield and laments not having started a little place right downtown of her own, “not on the ‘strip,’ but downtown.” She missed her eight kids and the family she “nannied,” so she moved back to New Orleans and has called it home ever since.
Basket O’ Hushpuppies
cornmeal fritters served with a side of house made jalapeño jelly
Blackened Catfish Po’ Boy
pan-seared catfish with Cajun spices on a fleur de lis bakery potato roll, with shredded lettuce & creole mustard sauce, served with a side of cole slaw
sautéed prawns in a creole sauce of onions, peppers, celery, tomato & spices, served over rice
Duck Confit with Red Beans & Rice
slow-simmered red beans with ham & andouille sausage, served with confit of duck leg, rice & French bread
pan-seared catfish with Cajun spices, with jambalaya (slow-cooked rice with andouille sausage, onions, tomatoes, and aromatic vegetables) & tobacco onion rings
Bananas Foster Bread Pudding
banana bread pudding topped with caramelized bananas, house made pecan brittle ice cream & caramel sauce