Saturday, May 05, 2012

Interview with Chef Shawn Lagergren of Tooloulou plus mini review

Open Kitchen
Tooloulou is new addition to the Harford corridor that includes Red Canoe, Koco’s Pub and more.  Tooloulou, which is Cajun for crab, features artisan pizzas, po’boys, ice cream from Prigel Family Creamery and daily specials.

Co-Owner/Chef Shawn Lagergren has previously worked at places like Luca’s Café, Village Square Café and Dionysus before he opened Tooloulou.  Tooloulou is a small space with a store front and open kitchen.

Jessica Lemmo:  Did you cook growing up?
Shawn Lagergren: Yes, Started in my Maw Maw's (grandmother) kitchen at age 4.

JL:  What made you decide you would become a professional cook?
SL:  At age 12 I decided that I wanted to own a restaurant. I had a lot of positive experiences with cooking and always had an interest in it.

JL:  Where you were trained and how difficult was your training?
SL:  I was trained by my grandmother in traditional French cooking techniques and then I started working in kitchens at the age of 22 and trained under various chef's to learn all aspects of working in the kitchen. I wouldn't say it was difficult; I enjoyed learning all that I could.

JL:  Would you do it again?
SL:  Yes!

JL:  What is the best part about the job?
SL:  That I get instant gratification from doing something I love and then seeing people enjoying the food that I make.

JL:  Best piece of advice you would give a home enthusiast?
SL:  Try new things and think outside of the box.

JL:  Best cooking tip for a novice?
SL:  Don't be scared

JL:  Favorite kitchen gadget?
SL:  1950's Hobart Mixer

JL:  Funniest kitchen incident?
SL:  Not sure if they would be funny to outside people but I am known to do some practical jokes on fellow kitchen staff. It helps lighten the mood when things get stressful.

JL:  Favorite food to cook with?
SL:  pork

JL:  Favorite dish to make at work/signature dish?
SL:  smoked duck pizza

JL:  Your favorite cookbook?
SL:  River Roads Recipes Two - Cajun cookbook that was given to be by my mom.

JL:  If you were to write & publish a cookbook what types of things would you include?
SL:  recipes to make dough and pasta and some traditional family dishes, like gumbo, biscuits and potato salad that have been given to me by other family members.

JL:  When at home, what do you like to eat?
SL:  My wife's black beans and jalapeno corn bread

JL:  Which item in your home refrigerator would you least like to cop to?
SL:   frozen white castle burgers.

JL:  In your opinion, what are the most important elements when creating a recipe from scratch?
SL:  who its for, balance of flavor, being creative.

JL:  What’s your favorite music to play in the kitchen?
SL:  Ray LaMontagne

JL:  Best meal you have ever eaten at a restaurant? (Chef/Where/etc) 
SL:  My birthday dinner at Woodberry Kitchen was amazing. That's my most recent best meal.

JL:  What’s your favorite meal?
SL:  Steamed crabs with good friends and some Natty Bo.

Smoke Duck pizza
I have stopped by Tooloulou a few times and tried some great items like the Tooloulou Margherita with pesto sauce, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella and the Muffaletta.  But by far my favorite so far is the distinct Smoked Duck pizza with tomato sauce, house smoked duck, caramelized onion, sweet peppers, and goat cheese. Drizzled with balsamic reduction.

Stop by and enjoy some unique flavors and friendly service!

(443) 627-8090
4311 Harford Rd.
Baltimore, MD 21214

For more info: you can subscribe to email notices, email me at, find me on Facebook or follow me on twitter @BmoreRestaurant
Tooloulou on Urbanspoon
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