Frank Davis was – to borrow his trademark phrase – as Naturally N’Awlins as they come. For more than three decades, viewers across South Louisiana and Mississippi knew and loved him as WWL-TV’s resident chef, outdoors expert and feature reporter.
Frank, who died in 2013, always considered himself blessed that he was able to combine his three loves – cooking, fishing and people — and get paid for it.
The oldest of three children, Frank 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,” he once said. After dabbling in other careers, he found success at WWL Radio, hosting a weekend talk show and contributing fishing and hunting features, then parlaying that into a job at WWL-TV. The cooking segments that followed his first outdoor reports were a natural. Superstar chef Paul Prudhomme once called him the “number-one authority on cooking and eating the fresh fish and game of Louisiana.”
“I had been fishing since I was five and always cooked whatever I caught,” Frank 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.”
As the resident chef on WWL-TV’s Eyewitness Morning News for more than 25 years, Frank appeared in thousands of cooking segments, teaching viewers how to prepare his versions of some classic New Orleans and south Louisiana dishes.
He also authored five successful cookbooks for Pelican Publishing Company and produced and marketed a complete line of spices and seasonings.
After Frank retired from WWL-TV in 2011, he donated his papers, including thousands of recipes, to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum Culinary Library and Archives, where they are accessible to chefs, culinary students and food lovers from all across the country.
“New Orleans is the country’s capital of cuisine,” Davis once said. “People love what this city cooks.”