Check out the November issue of New Orleans Magazine featuring Brother Martin Alumnus Chef Kevin Belton ‘77! In preparation for his interview with writer Ashley McLellan, Chef Belton visited our campus and took the time to step back into the kitchen with our Culinary Crusaders discussing the perfect recipe for life!
Kevin Belton '77 knows how to cook up a good time in the kitchen. He often appears on WYES (and PBS stations across the country) and on WWLTV morning programs armed with the trinity, a larger than life laugh and sense of humor.
This past September, the dapper chef was also featured in the pages of Vogue magazine alongside stunning models, musician Jon Batiste and members of the Mt. Kingdom choir, among others, in a spread honoring New Orleans culture. Is there anything this chef, educator, cookbook author can’t do? We wanted to find out how it all began and what’s next.
Q: What’s your first memory of cooking? I remember my mom starting to cook onion, celery and green pepper and then her going between the refrigerator and pantry to figure out what she was going to prepare while the Trinity was cooking.
Q: What was the first thing you learned how to cook? Mom taught me how to cook scrambled eggs.
Q: What did you learn about cooking from your mother and grandmother growing up? I remember the great conversations they had during cooking. I remember what was most important about their cooking was the love and care they put into each dish. You could feel and taste the love and care they put into every dish and to this day I feel the most important ingredient you can add is love. In fact, my wife had heard me say “love is my secret ingredient” and she stamped it on a sterling silver spoon that I always have with me because that is what I feel is most important.
Q: Your cookbooks and teachings are so welcoming and inspiring for home cooks. Do you think home cooks are as important to culinary history as award winning chefs, and why? YES, home cooks are as important because not everyone goes out to eat but everyone eats at home. Home cooks typically just don’t bring home awards or get the recognition that they should but I learned so much about life and cooking surrounded by my family cooking and eating. There are cherished memories that I will never forget that have greatly influenced me. I feel a responsibility to pass on our Louisiana culinary traditions, heritage and techniques on to future generations that I know will enrich their lives like it has mine.
Q: What are some surprising misconceptions about New Orleans cooking when you are teaching outside Louisiana? I think there are two huge misconceptions. The first one being that our food/recipes are complicated and that is not the case. The other misconception is that our food is spicy/hot but that is not the case either. It is flavorful and well seasoned.
Q: What is your favorite thing to cook at home on the weekend for comfort food? I very rarely ever cook at home. My wife Monica does all the cooking at home and she has several dishes that at very comforting to me and my stomach.
Q: Do you have advice for a home cook getting ready to prepare to entertain during the holidays? Don’t bite more than you can chew. Don’t plan to cook everything in your recipe file. Keep it simple, Plan ahead and prep as much as you can.
Q: You’ve been on TV, written books, taught cooking around the world. What’s the next thing you’d love to try that you haven’t yet? I would like to host a national show.
Born/raised: New Orleans, Louisiana, Uptown.
Education: Our Lady of Lourdes, Brother Martin and LSU.
What are you reading right now: Michael Connelly, “Two Kinds of Truth.”
Favorite place to get “take-out:” Venezia, Royal China and Central Grocery.
Favorite Thanksgiving dish that you go back to for seconds: Oyster Dressing.
TRUE CONFESSION: Something people might not know about you: I am really shy and blush at the attention. I was a small baby (7 lbs. 13 oz. but 24 1/2 long, small in comparison).