'What can you do?': Sandwich chef's new cookbook likely lost at sea after cargo collapse

Todd A. Price
Southern Kitchen
Mason Hereford is the mind behind the celebrated New Orleans sandwich restaurant Turkey and the Wolf. (Courtesy of Turkey and the Wolf)

Mason Hereford should have known not to make plans during the pandemic, but he did it anyway.

Hereford, chef and owner of New Orleans' funky and widely praised sandwich shop Turkey and the Wolf, was set to release his first cookbook in February. He had signings and pop-ups all lined up around the country. And then he got word that all the books were lost at sea.

"It's so bizarre. You can't feel bad about it. You just have to say, that's incredibly wild," Hereford said.

The freshly printed copies of "Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin' in New Orleans" were traveling from Singapore aboard the Madrid Bridge cargo ship. The ship was hit by a large swell south of the Azores, and 65 containers went overboard and another 89 were damaged, according to maritime news site gCaptain.

Hereford's book is in one of those containers.

No one was injured in the accident. Hereford's publisher, Ten Speed Press, is still waiting to hear if the books went in the water or were crushed. Other cookbooks, including "Dinner in One" from New York Times columnist Melissa Clark, were also affected.

The release date for "Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin' in New Orleans" is now June 21.

"What can you do?" Hereford said. "You just roll with the punches."

Hereford opened Turkey and the Wolf in 2016. The chef took his fine dining training and used it to make a collard green melt, a fried Bologna sandwich topped with potato chips and a wedge salad sprinkled with everything bagel seasoning. The next year, Bon Appétit magazine named Turkey and the Wolf the best new restaurant in America.

Hereford once called his restaurant "the most overrated place where you're bound to have a pretty good time."

The casual New Orleans sandwich spot Turkey and the Wolf has generated tons of national press attention. (Courtesy of Turkey and the Wolf)

The cookbook, co-written by J.J. Goode, was a family affair, with photos from Hereford's brother William, a food and travel photographer. The book includes favorite recipes from Turkey and the Wolf and Molly's Rise and Shine, a breakfast joint Hereford opened in 2018.

"A lot of the cookbook is to cook in a way that doesn't take extra steps, because that's how I like to cook at home," he said.

Hereford does not believe home cooks need to make everything from scratch. If someone makes a good product, he encourages people to use it.

At this point, less than a dozen copies of “Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin' in New Orleans”  are known to exist. Hereford only has one, which he plans to raffle off to support environmental causes.

"I've actually doodled in it, unfortunately," he said.

Details about the raffle will be posted on Turkey and the Wolf's website, www.turkeyandthewolf.com. The site is also taking pre-orders for the cookbook for when it's finally released in June.

News tips? Story ideas? Questions? Call reporter Todd Price at 504-421-1542 or email him at taprice@gannett.com. Sign up for The American South newsletter. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.