Gumbo in Japan? That's just one thing the husband-and-wife team of chefs Cody and Samantha Carroll are bringing overseas. 

The chefs, who own and operate Sac-A-Lait in New Orleans and Hot Tails in New Roads, are in Japan for the JATA Tourism Expo. On the travel agenda is  cooking gumbo at the tourism convention, hosting Q&A sessions about state culture and cuisine and judging at gumbo cookoff.

"This is something as chefs we work towards," Cody Carroll said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

The goal of the trip is to gain more tourists from across the world to Louisiana. The couple is there representing the Louisiana Seafood Board and Louisiana Travel. Nearly 150 countries are at the conference.

As part of the trip, the chefs are also cooking a seven-course private dinner for Caroline Kennedy and guests.

"It's the biggest logistical challenge that we have faced to date," Sam said. "There will always be that last minute thing, that curveball, but we've got a great team."

Beer fest tickets on sale now

Two big beer events are coming this fall, and if you want a ticket, you'd better get them now. 

The Baton Rouge Zoo's third annual Brew at the Zoo will start at 6 p.m. on Oct. 7. General admission tickets are $40. Designated driver tickets are $20. Check out a beer list (it's humongous) and get tickets at

The second Cap City Beer Fest starts at noon on Nov. 13 in a new location in front of the State Capitol at the intersection of Fourth Street and Spanish Town Road. Tickets are $40 and include a souvenir sampling mug, festival guide and unlimited sampling of specialty beers. For more information and to get tickets, visit

Blend to host wine dinner 

The downtown wine bar and restaurant Blend is hosting a Hendry Ranch wine dinner on Wednesday. Doors open at 6 p.m. The dinner starts at 7 p.m. The menu will start with passed hors d'ouevres, then a four-course meal with crispy duck breast, three-cheese stuffed baby portobellos, rotisserie-roasted ribeye, and a baked green apple crunch. Tickets are $75 per person. For more information, call (225) 757-5645 or visit

Follow Matthew Sigur on Twitter, @MatthewSigur.