The farm to table movement has become quite popular these days, making touting the use of locally grown foods a relatively widespread restaurant and grocer marketing tool. But because of the difficulties consumers have navigating the marketing verbiage, people interested in eating items grown and raised locally have come to rely on voices within their community to understand where food comes from and how it is grown or raised. Acadiana is fortunate to have several media and organizational outlets to turn to for local foods information. Tiffiany Decou, a.k.a. Lafayette Food Junkie, is a Lafayette-based blogger and radio host (with co-host, chef and food aficionado Zach Doise) who happens to be one of those leaders with a passion for educating and spreading the word about Acadiana-area foods.
“Both sides of my family farmed,” says Decou, the 33-year-old from Minden who earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from UL Lafayette. “My summers were spent picking peas, apples and shucking corn. During [the winter], I watched my family break down wild hogs and deer. Farm to table was not a fad; it was their way of life. The way I grew up is the reason why farm to table is so near and dear to me. I promote it any opportunity I get.”Decou started writing the Lafayette Food Junkie blog in 2010. In 2013, after gaining traction and community support, she and Doise, a Eunice native who spent some of his childhood in Omaha, Neb., before moving back to Acadiana, started the Lafayette Food Junkie radio show on KPEL 96.5 FM.
“We started the show because we love food and we love Louisiana foods and wanted to talk about food issues, simple enough,” says Doise, 28-year-old chef-owner of LASTREAT food truck. “I’ve been in the food business for 10 years; it’s what I know and what I’m passionate about. I’ve had the food truck for three years. [The show is] a good mix with me as a chef/owner/operator and Tiffany as a patron.”
The show, which airs live on Sunday evenings, explores various food-related topics — from grassroots farm to table organizations to restaurants to festivals and boucheries to animal ethics and more. In January, Decou attended the TASTE Awards in Los Angeles as a Best Critic or Review Series nominee for the episode featuring Toby Rodriguez, owner of Lache Pas Boucherie et Cuisine. And while Decou and Zoise did not take home the prize this year, they did receive national exposure.“It was shocking to be nominated our first year,” says Decou, who works in a doctor’s office by day and dreams/writes/ talks about food by night. “It adds some validity to what I’ve worked so hard in trying to convey — that Lafayette’s food scene is growing and something to take notice of. Our chefs do such a great job of showcasing the farm scene, and I think that’s why [Lafayette Food Junkie] is getting some national attention.”
Tyler F. Thigpen is an ecologist and cocoordinator of Pig & Plough Suppers, a slow foods dinner series celebrating our Louisiana foodways by promoting chef collaborations that feature foods grown and raised in South Louisiana.