NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – In this backyard garden in Lakeview, you’ll find an assortment of flowers, vegetables and herbs, but there must be something in the water because from this rich soil an entire business sprouted.
“It’s ugly to most people, but when you slice it open, you see how delicious the tomato is,” says Chef William Mauk. “So we call ourselves the New Orleans Tomato Company.”
Using his abundance of heirloom tomatoes and 12 years of culinary experience, Chef Mauk began bottling his tomato sauce. The recipe perfected right in his home kitchen.
“If we went to the sauce Olympics, I honestly believe we’re getting gold, we’re getting silver at least if we have crooked judges but if we’re going straight sauce for sauce, we’re winning the gold and we’re bringing it home,” says Mauk.
He’s since outgrown the garden, but still buys his creole tomatoes locally, which he insists makes all the difference.
“We try to use everything we can here in New Orleans, like if they grew peppercorn, we’d use New Orleans peppercorn. We want you to be able to take your jar, pour it into a pot heat it up, put your pasta in there and eat it and it rival any restaurant in the city, in the state in the country. “
With the sauce perfected, bottled and ready to go, the next challenge for Chef Mauk is getting his product to the people, but already New Orleans Tomato Company is showing up on the shelves of local shops. Currently, you can purchase the tomato sauce from Swirl Wine Bar, the Hollygrove Market and Farm and Tartine.
“We don’t have the name recognition, we don’t have the product recognition, but what we have is the city of New Orleans and we’re the New Orleans Tomato Company. We’re trying to give our citizens a product they can be proud of. “