Frank Davis is a notable New Orleans character whose
effervescent personality and love for this city is contagious.
At this point, Davis considers himself blessed that he has
been able to combine his three loves—fishing, cooking, and people—and get paid
for it. “I have a lot of fun doing what I do,” said the resident chef and
outdoors director for WWL-TV in New Orleans (CBS). “I like to express that fun
to everybody else as well.”
Make no mistake, others pick up on Davis's attitude loud
and clear. Co-workers speak with amazement of conversations Davis has had with
passersby on the interstate. It is not uncommon for drivers to pull alongside
Davis, roll down their windows, and hold conversations about fishing or cooking
or the latest happenings in the area—and all at 55 miles per hour!
The oldest of three children, Davis was first assigned
kitchen duty when he was seven. “I was the first one home from school in the
afternoon, and my dad asked me to help fix supper one evening,” Davis said.
The first week, he said, he cooked red beans and rice. “At
the end of the week, Dad said America didn't need that much gas.” The
second week he prepared eggs. “Then Dad said he didn't need that much
cholesterol.” That was when Davis's experimentation in the kitchen began.
“I thoroughly enjoy everything I do,” Davis said, “and
I have been able to parlay my two loves, fishing and cooking, into a career.”
A naturalist at heart, Davis has always been a writer,
ceaseless promoter of Louisiana wildlife, and a nonstop talker. In addition to
his WWL-TV spots, Davis currently hosts a weekly award-winning two-hour cooking
show and does daily programs on outdoors, fishing, and other recreation
attractions of the Crescent City.
In the kitchen, Davis has worked with some of New Orleans'
most respected chefs—Paul Prudhomme, John Levy, Louis Evans, Frank Sclafani,
Alex Patout, Goffredo Fraccaro, Chris Kerageorgious, Tommy Wong, and Justin
Wilson—and now instructs in his own cooking school, The Frank Davis School of
Cooking. His company, Frank Davis Foods, produces a complete line of spices and
Currently a member of the American Federation of Television
and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and president of Frank
Davis Productions, Inc., Frank is a past president of the Louisiana Outdoors
Writers Association of America and the Southeastern Outdoors Press Association.
He has worked as a consultant to National Geographic, as Louisiana editor
of Outdoor Life, outdoors editor-in-chief of Louisiana Woods and Water
Magazine, and has contributed to dozens of local and national publications.
He was also public relations coordinator for the Louisiana Wildlife and
Fisheries Department and associate editor of Louisiana Conservationist.
It was not until Davis moved from print journalism to radio
that he truly discovered his expertise in cooking. “I had been fishing since I
was five and always cooked whatever I caught,” he explained. “In
discussing where and how to catch a certain fish, I would sprinkle in cooking
tips about how to prepare that type of fish and got great listener response.”
Davis's cookbooks are unlike any other, he contends, in
that they deal with realities. “I despise your typical cookbook from the word
‘go,’” he said. “Typical cookbooks assume everyone is a bumbling idiot that
cannot read complete sentences.” In his colorful conversational N'Awlins
accent, Davis explicitly narrates each recipe. “Everybody can follow what to do
with descriptions like this,” he said. “It is like having a cooking class
Frank Davis Cooks Cajun, Creole, and Crescent City,
his latest book, contains all-new seafood recipes plus variations on the
traditional Cajun-Creole canon of cooking. Davis has also written (at the
request of his many fans) Frank Davis Cooks Naturally N'Awlins, a
best-selling cookbook, The Frank Davis Seafood Notebook, and an
authoritative fishing guide, The Frank Davis Fishing Guide to Lake
Ponchartrain and Lake Borgne, all published by Pelican.
“New Orleans is the country's capital of cuisine,” Davis said. “I
found that out firsthand when I toured the country for Proctor & Gamble for
three years demonstrating the city's cooking. Whether I was in Little Rock,
Arkansas; Cincinnati, Ohio; New York, or Los Angeles, California,” he
continued, “they just about ate the Teflon off of my pots. People love what
this city cooks.”