It is probably one of the most famous desserts, no matter where you travel, you say, Bananas Foster and they know what it is.
I’m ready to have it.
Ready to have it?
What the heck.
Let’s do it.
What up y’all?!
I’m Phillip Lopez and I’m standing right here on the banks of the Mississippi River.
This is one of the original sights of one of the biggest banana warehouses in the country.
Ships used to come up the Mississippi from South America and unload all of their bananas.
I’m going to head over to Commander’s Palace and talk to Ti Martin we’re eat some Bananas Foster, and talk about the history and politics of bananas.
This is Good Gumbo.
Hey Chef… what’s going on man?
What’s up Jus?
Enjoying the view?
Bananas here in New Orleans has a cultured past- positive and negative.
This is the place where it actually happened.
We are here at the Arrato Street Wharf.
It looks a lot different today than it did a century and a half ago.
I hear there is a guy who ended up in New Orleans and was the biggest and most influential banana exporter kind of guy… Yeah, Sam Zemurray.
Sam the Banana Man came to New Orleans.
His family immigrated from Russia.
He made his fortune in the banana trade as head of the United Fruit Company, one of the world's biggest fruit companies at the time.
Very, very wealthy, - he built the famous house now used by The President of Tulane University.
His banana empire was very controversial in Honduras and Guatemala.
--- where he had a lot, most people say too much, influence on governments and businesses --- that is where the term “banana republic“ comes from.
There is this long history, this long relationship between New Orleans and places like Honduras because of the Port and when bananas come along it becomes a much closer relationship.
This was part of the life blood of the city.
And right here was an important place for tropical fruit because this is where United Fruit had this big automated facility that opened in 1908, 1910.
Before that, if you can imagine, unloading a cargo of bananas from the bay of the ship.
You would have a chain of man, a bucket brigade, handing a stock of bananas from man to man out the ship and onto waiting wagons.
These were the longshoremen, the Banana Handler’s Union.
This was very important to making New Orleans what it becomes That’s such an awesome name, The Banana Handler’s Union.
Of course all these bananas inspired one of New Orleans most famous desserts, Bananas Foster.
Ti, you and I have known each other for a while.
And this is probably one of my favorite restaurants in the whole city.
This place means home.
This place means New Orleans.
You have this personality that just lights up the room.
Oh you’re sweet.
But the Banana’s Foster that you guys serve here, lights up this room as well.
So where did this Banana’s Foster come from?
So one day my family had started at the Absinthe House, good Irish people, start with a bar.
They then moved across the street and were running the Vieux Carre restaurant.
My Mother was brand new in the business.
Her brother Owen was there.
And he comes in one day and he says to Ella, he called her kid, and he said “Hey Kid, I’m doin a dinner to honor my friend, Richard Foster.
He is the new head of the vice commission and we are going to do a dessert and name it for him.
And she said no we are not.
I don’t have time for that.
You told me to do the inventory.
And he said, “Kid, Dessert, Tonight.
To honor Dick Foster.” So off she goes running around.
And the maître de was a man named Frank Bertucci.
He said what the heck is the matter with you, Ella.
Owen said I have to create this dessert for tonight and I don’t know what the hell to do.
And there are literally cases of bananas just lined up on the wall.
And so she said, “I’m thinking I’m going to do something with bananas.” He said, they got all these desserts around the corner at Antoine’s and Arnaud’s that they flame.
And she said, “ You’re right!
Let’s flame somethin!” So they just start messin’ around….
So they sautéed the bananas like their mother would do with the butter and then said, “Let’s add rum to flame it!
What the heck, let’s add Banana Liquor too!
You know, it will smell good, it will flame!” And we’ll have our dessert to compete with Baked Alaska, which they didn’t think was much of anything you know.
So that is what happened.
And they served it that night and his name was Dick Foster.
So they named it Banana’s Foster.
How good does that look, Yes Dig in.
Look at this... How bout them apples?
How ‘bout them Bananas (laughter) Here’s to my Mom, and my Uncle, and Mr. Foster.
Here’s to you.
Thanks for coming!