Community Spotlight: Creole & Vinegar

Photo courtesy of Creole and Vinegar

When you think of the word “barbecue,” we’re betting that “vegan” isn’t something you’d usually associate with it. Chef James “Ski” Lesniewski, the Executive Chef/Owner of Creole and Vinegar would like to change that.  Creole and Vinegar is a New Orleans popup serving both meat and vegan barbecue at various locations across New Orleans.

For the next few weeks, they’ll be hanging out at The Goat, a dive bar on St. Bernard Avenue, where they’ll be serving their unique take on Creole barbecue during New Orleans Saints games. According to Lesniewski, the goal of the popup is “to provide southern, Creole/Cajun classically and modern-inspired cuisine,” with a 40 to 60 percent vegan twist.

Photo courtesy of Creole and Vinegar

When making his dishes, Lesniewski is committed to sustainability, trying to use as many locally and sustainably produced ingredients as he can. Mushrooms are sourced from J&D Mushrooms and other produce comes from Lake Tillery Acres, both here in Louisiana. This week’s menu includes Vegan Gumbo and Lagniappe Gumbo, and Vegan Jambalaya and Lagniappe Jambalaya.

Lesniewski’s focus on sustainability is part of the reason why he is so focused on community activism. Creole and Vinegar participated in the Stormy Daniels “Swamp Trash” pro-choice block party, among other events. “Seeing how I want to keep the local sustainability part of [the popup] is community, and so it’s very important to be active in the community and be able to give back to them in order to share and reap benefits between the both of us.”

Following news of Saints quarterback Drew Brees’ association with an anti-LGBT religious group, announced that they will make a donation each week to a different local LGBTQ charity in New Orleans. They’ve even reached out to Brees to see if he’ll do the same:

“Everyone makes mistakes,” the pop-up posted on their Facebook page after Brees statements re-affirming his support of the LGBTQ community. “Let’s hope this really was a mistake.”

For Monday’s popup, donations will be made to the local chapter of PFLAG and through St. Ann’s. Donations will rotate through various other charities throughout the NFL season.

If you’d like to keep track of Creole and Vinegar to find out what they’ll be serving for each game, you can follow them on Facebook and Instagram.


Jenn Bentley is a freelance journalist and editor currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of Big Easy Magazine. Her work has also been featured in publications such as Wander N.O. More, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News,, and others. Follow her on Twitter: @JennBentley_

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