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Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Padre Feritta Brings The Flavor

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Family called him home; inspiration took him in a new direction

God called him home to momma. Food called him to momma’s business.

Patrick Fertitta spent more than six years in the priesthood — after five years in seminary school. But last year, when his stepfather’s health declined, Fertitta left his Alabama ministry and came home to Shreveport.

“I started seeing the writing on the wall, with things that were happening in the congregation. It all sort of came to a realization for me that it was time to leave my vocation as a pastor and return to my vocation under the Fourth Commandment of honoring my father and my mother — and coming back to help with my stepfather and to help my mom in the store.”

The “store” is Fertitta’s Delicatessen, a Shreveport favorite since 1927. For 95 years, the Fairfield Avenue landmark has satisfied generations of taste buds. The “Home of the Muffy” — a muffuletta with that addicting olive mix — has been in Fertitta’s family since it opened.

“I grew up at Fertitta’s Deli. When I was 6 years old and mom could put a broom in my hand, she did. Watching my grandfather Sam, watching my mom (Agatha), watching my Uncle Joe and my mom’s cousin, they all taught me what I know.”

Not about religion, but about food. Fertitta’s stepfather, Robert McCall, died earlier this year. Fertitta decided not to return to Alabama.

“I pretty much left Alabama with nothing. I had to sell my home, and I did not come out with much of anything.”

His “church” is now the deli, which Fertitta’s mother owns. His congregation is now the deli’s customers.

And Fertitta soon figured out the tithing needed to increase.

“When I moved back, I told Mom that since you’re going to have another mouth in the house to feed … we need to come up with something to try and increase revenue a little bit in the store.”

So, on the seventh day, Fertitta did not rest. He created Padre Fertitta Foods. Fertitta went through years of family recipes and picked the best of the best to sell online and in the deli.

“We just started getting some of the pickled vegetable recipes produced. I’ve expanded from there.”

Fertitta has imported a balsamic vinaigrette from Modena in northern Italy and an olive oil from Abruzzo on Italy’s east coast.

And then there are Padre Fertitta’s pasta sauces. One is made from his grandmother’s recipe.

“I had to fight my mom tooth and nail to get her to let me use that recipe, but she agreed.”

However, Father Fertitta is bringing three other pasta sauces to the market, which are made from his recipes.

“I will have a scampi sauce, a marsala sauce and a chardonnay tomato sauce.”

Not all of the new items are from the Fertitta family. Fertitta is bringing in sausages and salami from — of all places — Maryland.

“It’s made in a traditional old-world style. The salami are made with celery powder, salt and the probiotic yogurt… (MeatCrafters) makes them just like they used to be made in Rome 2,000 years ago.”

Fertitta says if he returns to the ministry, it will be in an informal setting. He’s still focused on spreading the Word, but now he preaches the word about his new line of food and Fertitta’s Deli.

Padre Fertitta Foods’ slogan? “Holy Moly Thatsa Tasty!” To order Padre Fertitta Foods, you may visit www.padrefertittafoods.com.

ON STANDS NOW!

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