New Orleans chef whose cookbooks fell in the ocean makes 1st book tour stop in Charleston | Food


New Orleans restaurant Turkey and the Wolf isn’t your average sandwich shop.

Once referred to as “The Radical Sandwich Kings of New Orleans,” the restaurant’s chefs are known for crafting inventive handhelds like the collard green melt, which Charleston residents will have the opportunity to sample at a July 6 event celebrating the launch of Turkey and the Wolf owner Mason Hereford’s new cookbook, titled “Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin’ in New Orleans.”

Flavor Trippin’ in New Orleans hit bookstands on June 21.

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Turkey and the Wolf earned immediate praise when it opened in the city’s Irish Channel neighborhood in 2017, turning heads with not only its sandwiches, but its funky, fun-loving atmosphere. Hereford has an easy going, light-hearted persona, so when a shipping snafu caused his cookbooks to plummet to the bottom of the ocean — delaying the release by four months — he reacted like those who knew him likely supposed he would.

By posting a few memes.


Turkey and the Wolf owner Mason Hereford. William Hereford/Provided

“I have some wild and unfortunate cookbook news so bizarre that it warrants using lowercase text. I’m sorry to say the Turkey and the Wolf cookbook won’t be shipping out in February as planned,” Hereford wrote at the time in an Instagram post next to a collection of memes, one of which featured Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland in Cast Away staring at a long lost Turkey and the Wolf cookbook adorned with Wilson the Volleyball’s “face.”

“There was a container collapse on the cargo ship that contained the Turkey and the Wolf books. The good news is that there were no critical injuries, as can happen in these situations. But the bad news is the books might be in a cargo container at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.”

In January, The Post and Courier reported that the containership carrying the books, called The Madrid Bridge, originated in China and was sailing from Europe.

Damage to the vessel occurred Jan. 7 when it was hit with a large swell and 22-knot winds, causing the ship to roll while it was idling south of the Azores, a chain of islands west of Portugal.

The Madrid limped into the Port of Charleston on Jan. 25 for several days of work and inspections after its approximately 90 cargo boxes collapsed aboard the vessel. The ship’s operator decided to do the repair work at the Leatherman Terminal because of Charleston’s deep harbor and the need for a 49-foot draft.

Large containership pulls into Charleston's port to unload damaged cargo boxes

While this Charleston connection isn’t the reason the Holy City is Hereford’s first stop on his cookbook tour, it certainly adds another layer to the strange story that started in 2019, when he first conceived the book.

Not only did the book allow him to work with his brother William Hereford, a successful photographer who is working on a project with celebrity chef Francis Mallmannit allowed Hereford to find his voice alongside writer JJ Goode, co-author of New York Times bestseller “Pok Pok: Food and Stories from the Streets, Homes, and Roadside Restaurants of Thailand,” among others.

Flavor Trippin’ in New Orleans features nearly 100 recipes alongside commentary from Hereford.

“I decided I do have something to say,” Hereford told The Post and Courier. “It is the exact same reason we opened a restaurant which was to figure out a way to all have jobs, put something out in the world but sort of minimize stress and maximize good times with your buddies.”

With the cookbooks finally in tow, Hereford is preparing to start his book tour in Charleston before visiting Porchlight in New York City, Crispy Gai in Portland, Maine, Tail Up Goat in Washington, DC, and Pizzeria Locale in Denver, with other cities to be announced at a later date.

The Butcher & Bee book signing will be more than just that — the event will be a dinner party (emphasis on the “party,” as Hereford puts it) that will feature some of Charleston’s top chefs.

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collard green melt.jpg

Turkey and the Wolf owner Mason Hereford will serve this collard green melt at the July 6 cookbook launch event at Charleston’s Butcher & Bee. William Hereford/Provided

Vivian Howard (Lenoir and Handy + Hot), Morgan McQueen (Jackrabbit Filly), James London (Chubby Fish), Maryam Ghaznavi (Malika), Chase Barton (Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint), Alec Gropman (Uptown Hospitality Group) and Jessica Olin (Butcher & Bee) are among the participants, with Nayda Friere (Renzo) providing the beverages.

Talk about a star-studded cast.

“Everyone is going to do one bite-sized dish. They check out the book and maybe do something that’s inspired by it,” Hereford said. “It’s just crazy wild to think that all these amazing chefs are willing to read something I made.”

Gropman leads the kitchen at Uptown Hospitality Group’s three downtown Charleston establishments: Uptown Social, Share House and Bodega, which specializes in cheffy sandwiches made with house-baked bread.

Naturally, cooking at an event celebrating a chef serving inventive sandwiches like the PB&J Deluxe (peanut butter and tahini on beef fat griddled bread with pepper jelly, jalapenos, red onion and Thai basil) was a no-brainer. While Gropman hasn’t quite nailed down what he’ll be making just yet, he did say it will feature house-made bread.

“It’s an honor to get to work with him as well as some of my favorite chefs in Charleston,” Gropman said. “The sense of comradery in Charleston is so unique. Getting to collaborate with other fellow chefs again, it’s a blast.”

The event will take place from 5:30-8 pm on July 6. Those who purchase an $85 ticket will receive bites from each chef, a welcome cocktail and a signed copy of “Turkey and The Wolf: Flavor Trippin’ in New Orleans.”

Before sampling Hereford’s collard green melt and snagging a cookbook at Butcher & Bee, Charleston diners can watch the chef on the upcoming reboot of “Iron Chef,” which debuted on Netflix June 15.

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