We invite you to experience early 19th-century urban cooking in the ONLY working open-hearth kitchen in New Orleans at Hermann-Grima + Gallier Historic Houses. Learn more about the rich history of hearth cooking and experience these traditional dishes prepared by local culinary experts at our seasonal hearth cooking exhibit.

History of Hearth Cooking

For nearly a century, meals were prepared for the Hermanns, the Grimas, their guests, enslaved workers, and hired domestics within the kitchen at 820 St. Louis Street. The open-air room contains a hearth, a baking oven, and potager (an early version of a stove range). Creole dishes were created by enslaved women using local game, seafood, and produce purchased from the municipal markets. Most households visited the markets on Sundays. Mutton was the most highly prized meat, while beef was less sought-after but inexpensive at less than three cents a pound. Chicory coffee was the beverage of choice for market-goers, as the strong brew was sold at several stalls throughout.

Experience Our Specialty Tours

From November through April, volunteer culinary experts prepare seasonal dishes on select Thursdays using traditional recipes and techniques of the 19th century. Group tours may schedule private open-hearth cooking demonstrations by appointment. The hearth cooking exhibit carefully recreates the methods and techniques used at the Hermann-Grima house in the 19th century, with dishes including rotisserie duck, goose, chicken, and beef; smoked hams; spicy sausages; stews such as gumbo and red beans; and French bread, brioche, and round loaves. Guests will witness these methods in person while tasting the authentic spirit of Creole cuisine. In fact, The Woman’s Exchange is responsible for producing one of the two cookbooks considered foundational in this culture.

Visit our online calendar for the schedule of traditional Creole cooking demonstrations, and book your online reservations for the date of your choice. Guests can experience the outdoor hearth kitchen as part of our regular guided tours. An excursion to the Hermann-Grima + Gallier Historic Houses is one of the few ways to truly experience New Orleans as it was in the 1800s.