Let’s get Shakin’

We started last week with Easy King Cakes to kick off the Mardi Gras season. As promised, we will keep it rollin’ every week like a float headed down Main Street from now until Fat Tuesday. 

This week’s Tips and Tales includes one of my absolute favorites and let me tell you party goers this one is easy AND packs well to take to a parade, load on a float for snacks or even take to a grand bal to set out on your table. I have made these throughout my career, especially the years I spent catering.

It’s no secret I love Mardi Gras season, from the years in south Louisiana to the years I have been home in north Louisiana. I’ve been a member of 3 krewe’s across the state, most recently the Krewe of Demeter right here in DeSoto parish where I was the captain for over 3 years. 

As I write this, I’m still repacking my tuxedo from Demeter’s Grand Bal Vll last night. Let me tell you it might not be south Louisiana, but it was still one outstanding party and a packed house. Captain Linda Carter and Co-Captain Deborah Stewart put on a great event and Queen Denise Brown wowed the crowd. With my busy schedule I don’t get to go to as many events as I would like but I sure enjoy the few I attend. 

Speaking of busy schedule this one is for all of you that wanna wow the crowd without spending the day in the kitchen. Enjoy! 


  • 2 cups Italian olive salad (such as Boscoli Family Italian Olive Salad; from 1 [32-oz.] jar)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil 
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar 
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more if desired)
  • 8 sesame seed hamburger buns
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced capocollo 
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced provolone cheese 
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced deli ham 
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced mozzarella
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced dry salami 
  • Wooden picks 
  • 16 pimiento-stuffed olives, cut in half crosswise


  1. Place olive salad, basil, vinegar, and crushed red pepper in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse just until chopped (you do not want it finely chopped), 4 to 5 times.
  2. Top the bottom half of each hamburger bun with 2 tablespoons olive salad mixture. Top each bun with 1-ounce capocollo, 1 ounce provolone, 1 ounce ham, 1 ounce mozzarella, and 1 ounce salami. Top each with 2 tablespoons olive salad mixture and bun tops. Cut each sandwich into quarters. Secure each quarter with a wooden pick topped with an olive half.

Till next week I’m Chef Hunter Lee wishing you all a fabulous Mardi Gras Season. 

Remember, “Treat your kitchen, treat yourself” Benwood’s, uniquely Southern, Surely the Best!