In Louisiana, food, music, and art are reflections of life that often walk hand in hand—or they second line down the street and invite others into the fold.
That’s what happened when the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, led by Win Butler and Regine Chassagne of the band Arcade Fire, took to the streets of Park City, Utah, in January at the Sundance Film Festival to promote documentary film A Tuba to Cuba.
A Tuba to Cuba follows the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Ben Jaffe, creative director of Preservation Hall and son of the famed jazz club’s founders Alan and Sandra Jaffe, as they journey to Cuba and connect with the musical roots of traditional New Orleans jazz.
Also at the festival to support A Tuba to Cuba were Blue Dog Café owner Jacques Rodrigue and Chef Ryan Trahan. As the King of Louisiana and American Seafood, Ryan has spent the past eight months representing Louisiana and its food culture, and this experience was especially unique for his role.
Ryan developed a menu of delicious Gulf seafood that celebrated the Bayou State’s rich culinary roots. And to prepare enough food to serve those attending, Ryan says, 600 pounds of fresh Louisiana seafood was shipped to Utah.
“This was an opportunity to show them the best of what we have to offer in Louisiana,” says Ryan. “That’s what we really wanted people to get out of this.”
Ryan and Jacques started the day serving guests crawfish hash for breakfast. Later, guests enjoyed redfish ceviche, rich seafood gumbo, raw oysters topped with Cajun Caviar, and king cake. Craft cocktails inspired by the film were also available. Ryan says each dish was just one more way to showcase the quality of seafood found in the Gulf, especially the oysters.
“A lot of attention is given to East and West Coast oysters, but we’re starting to show people that ours are better,” says Ryan. “They’re very clean and have great flavor. People on the Gulf Coast are using techniques from all over the world to make that happen.
”The Blue Dog Café team received high praise for the menu, which attracted the likes of Jeff Goldblum and Armie Hammer. For some, it was their first encounter with Louisiana’s cuisine.
“People loved it, and I really think it opened their minds and even changed some misconceptions they had about food in Louisiana,” says Ryan. “Some even said it was the best food they had at Sundance.”