John Besh is a local chef who is devoted to fine cuisine and giving back to his local community. John Besh grew up in southern Louisiana where he began to learn about the area's culinary traditions. Besh attended the Culinary Institute of America. Besh had an apprenticeship under the famed chef Karl-Josef Fuchs at the Hotel Spielweg in Germany. John Besh returned to New Orleans to open Graham's as Kevin Graham's chef de cuisine. He went on to serve as the chef de cuisine at La Provence as well. John Besh opened Restaurant August in 2001 in New Orleans' Warehouse District. August is one of the finest dining experiences in the city staying true to John Besh's culinary philosophy. He has since opened Luke, a tribute to the traditional brasserie, and Besh Steakhouse in Harrah's casino. In 2006 when Besh's mentor Chef Chris Kerageorgi died he took over his restaurant La Provence in Lacombe. Besh is very active in the local community. August was one of the first restaurants to open post Katrina and Besh personally helped reopen various other restaurants around the city including Willie Mae's Scotch House. John Besh has been highly involved in local and national campaigns to raise funds for hurricane victims. Besh received the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southeast in 2006. He has been featured in various publications including Food and Wine's "10 Best New Chefs in America" in 1999, Gourmet Magazine featured August in "America's Top Fifty Restaurants" in 2006, and Zagat placed August as number one for food and service in 2007. He has also appeared on the Food Network's Iron Chef where he defeated Mario Batali in "Battle Andouille" and he came in as runner-up in "The Next Iron Chef." It has been rumored that Chef John Besh has turned down job offers in cities such as New York and Miami by saying that he will remain with the people of New Orleans to continue the rebuilding process. John Besh's careful attention to detail and quality produce some of the best meals available in New Orleans.
Chef Paul Blange was originally from the Netherlands. Blange became the Executive Chef of Brennan's Restaurant in the French Quarter in 1946 under owner Owen Edward Brennan Sr. Blange created Bananas Foster. Chefs that trained under him include Michael Roussel and Lazone Randolph. When Blange died in 1977 he was buried with a knife, fork and a menu from Brennan's on his chest. He is said to haunt the restaurant now.
Scott Boswell is a native to Louisiana. At a very young age Boswell started to show off his culinary abilities by entering cooking contests put on by local 4-H Clubs and the Louisiana Egg Council. Boswell became known for winning blue ribbons by adding extremes to traditional dishes. Boswell attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. After graduation Boswell worked in New Orleans' Grill Room at the Windsor Court Hotel under Chef Kevin Graham. Boswell went on to learn techniques full of nuances with Chef Pascal Morel at L'Abbaye de Ste Croix in Salon de Provence, France. Next he worked at Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence where he had the chance to meet and befriend Masahiko Kobe who is now known as "The Italian Iron Chef." It was in Florence where Boswell learned to make pasta which he is becoming famous for. He returned to New Orleans and went back to the Grill Room where he worked under Chef Jeff Tunks. After bouncing around the United States for a few years Chef Scott Boswell opened Stella! in 2001 in the heart of the French Quarter. Stella! is a romantic restaurant with a French country inn warmth. The cuisine is European at heart with Asain accents and classic yet bold Creole flavors. Boswell has had the opportunity to work with "Iron Chef French" Hiroyuki Sakai, "Iron Chef Chinese" Chin Kenichi, and"Iron Chef Japanese" and current "Iron Chef America" Masaharu Morimoto who have all influenced him globally. Stella! features Boswell's own "Iron Chef Chile Prawns" on the menu, a recipe which was featured on the show. Boswell is opening a new restaurant Stanley in August of 2008. It is expected to be casual yet indulgent food. Chef Scott Boswell is dedicated to taking fresh local ingredients and using his culinary artistry in order to create "food that shouts with a uniquely global voice."
Chef Frank Brigsten is a life long New Orleans native. The onset of his culinary career was in 1973 while he was in Baton Rouge attending Louisiana State University. In 1979 Brigtsen began his apprenticeship at Commander's Palace under Executive Chef Paul Prudhomme. In 1980 Brigsten became the first Night Chef when K. Paul's began dinner service and in the following six years went on to be the Executive Chef. In 1986 Chef Paul and his late wife K Prudhomme helped Frank and his wife Marna Brigtsen open Brigsten's. Brigsten's focuses on using local ingredients to revitalize Creole/Acadian on a menu which changes daily. In 1988 Food and Wine Magazine named Brigsten "One of America's Top Ten New Chefs." In 1998 Chef Frank Brigtsen was awarded "Best New Chef: Southeast" by the James Beard Foundation. In 2001 Brigtsen's was awarded the Ivy Award by Restaurants and Institutions. Brigtsen is dedicated to charities such as Share Our Strength's and Taste of the Nation. Chef Frank Brigtsen is living his culinary dream while he is "rebuilding New Orleans one plate at a time."
Chef Chris Debarr is originally from Dallas, Texas. He attended the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. In 1992 Debarr's wife novelist and New Orleans native Poppy Z. Brite convinced him to move to town. Debarr's first culinary contribution to New Orleans was at Arnaud's. He spent two years under Chef Jamie Shannon at Commander's Palace between 1994 and 1996. He has cooked at places ranging from Vincent's to Christian's where he was when Katrina hit. When Debarr returned to his flooded Broadmoor home after the storm he found himself a seemingly homeless chef in search of a restaurant that had lost their chefs to the storm. It only made sense that Chris Debarr and the Delachaise should be together. Recently Chef Chris Debarr parted ways with the Delachaise on his own terms in order seek out a more freely creative culinary path. We await what will be coming, but to tide you over Debarr will be featured at Tales of the Cocktail on July 17, 2008.
Adolfo Garcia is a New Orleans native. He graduated from The University of Texas as Austin in 1984 and from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York in 1987. Upon graduation he served as Executive Sous Chef at the Russian Tea Room in Manhattan followed by cooking experience in Spain. In 1996 Garcia decided to return to New Orleans to open Criollo which featured fashionable Nuevo Latino to town. Criollo closed after two years. In 2000 Adolfo Garcia partnered with Nicolas Bazan III to open Rio Mar as a tribute to the way Latin American cuisine is able to use the simplicity of Spanish cooking to highlight fish and other seafood. Rio Mar is named after the town in Panama where the river meets the sea. Garcia and Bazan then opened La Boca. La Boca is an Argentine style steakhouse that focuses on quality beef in a tantalizing way. Adolfo Garcia concern with the highest quality ingredients allows him to melt the Old World into the New by putting his own twist on Latin classics.
Chef Chris Kerageorgi served as John Besh's mentor at his restaurant La Provence in Lacombe, Louisiana. Kerageorgi died in 2007 as a result of a brain tumor. La Provence closed for five weeks after his death as a tribute to Kerageorgi, but the 50-year-old restaurant is open today as one of John Besh's family of restaurants.
Chef Lacovone is a native of Worcester, MA. He attended the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, NY. He also holds a first-level certificate from the Court of Sommeliers in London. He came to New Orleans in 1995 and began working at the Windsor Court Hotel's Grill Room. When Cuvee opened in 1999 Lacovone was the chef de cuisine until 2003 when he became Executive Chef.
Landry attended the University of Alabama where he earned a degree in biology and philosophy. After college he returned to his native home, New Orleans. Landry then attended Johnson and Wales where he earned a culinary degree while working at the Charleston Grill. Landry trained with Chef Rene Bajeux of La Provence, Kevin Vizard of Vizard's, and Gerard Maras of Ralph's on the Park. After Hurricane Katrina, Landry became Executive Chef of Galatoire's Bistro in Baton Rouge. After only six months Landry was asked to head the kitchens of both Galatoire's which he continues to do today.
James Dean Leeming
Leeming grew up in Nicaragua as the eldest child of a New Orleans United States diplomat and a Nicaraguan mother. Leeming attended the School of Architecture in Mexico City until his family left for New Orleans. James began working in a Mexican restaurant and taking English at UNO. One year later Leeming became a food runner at Commander's Palace. He quickly became kitchen manager and started cooking under Executive Chef of the time Emeril Lagasse. After seven years with Emeril Leeming workes for another five years under Executive Chef Jamie Shannon. After 13 years at Commander's Leeming became the Chef de Cuisine at Brigtsen's under Chef Frank Brigtsen where he orchestrated the restaurant's two James Beard house dinners. Next he became Executive Chef of Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse. In 2003 he became Chef de Cuisine of Dick and Jenny's. After Hurricane Katrina Dick and Jenny's changed hands and Leeming became Executive Chef where he remains today.
Donald Link is a local chef who values the art of Cajun cuisine. Chef Donald Link began his culinary journey by attending the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. He returned to New Orleans in 1995 to begin his externship at Bayona with Susan Spicer. In 1997 he became the sous chef of Bayona, but returned to San Francisco to work with Loretta Keller at Bizou. He opened Jardiniere with Traci Des Jardin which led to an executive chef position at Elite Cafe. Link became a local celebrity for bringing Creole to the bay area. In 2000 Link opened Herbsaint on St. Charles Avenue with Susan Spicer. Herbsaint is dedicated to simple yet flavorful dishes. The menu does a good job of trying to stay on the light side of the culinary spectrum without giving anything away in the flavor department. In the spring of 2006 Donald Link opened Cochon with co-owner Chef Stephen Stryjewski which seems to be a tribute to his grandfather. Link began cooking with his grandfather and Cochon's menu stays true to that cajun, southern cooking. Featuring an in-house boucherie alongside a selection of moonshine is a sure way to please all types of palates. Both Herbsaint and Cochon value local farmers and products. They receive rabbits and suckling pigs from Mississippi and an array of local shrimp and other seafood. Donald Link was named Best Chef: South by the James Beard Foundation in 2007. The James Beard Foundation also nominated Cochon for Best New Restaurant. Both Herbsaint and Cochon have been featured in Gourmet Magazine's article "America's Top 50 Restaurants." Link has a Sausage Burger recipe that was featured in Food and Wine Magazine's article "Ten Best Burgers" which is available on the Herbsaint website.
Chef Tory McPhail was born in Ferndale, Washington where he began displaying his love for food at a young age. McPhail attended the ACF accredited cooking school at Seattle Community College. In 1993 he was hired at Commander's Palace by Executive Chef Jamie Shannon. McPhail started as a garde manager and had moved through all twelve kitchen stations in two years until he was appointed Sous Chef Palace Cafe, a member of the Commander's Palace Family of Restaurants. He currently holds culinary court as the Executive Chef of Commander's Palace. McPhail has been featured on many television shows such as Sara's Secrets, My Country My Kitchen, Into the Fire, and Bobby Flay's Food Nation. Chef Tory McPhail is extremely dedicated to local farmers and fishermen. Commander's is receiving up to ninety percent of their ingredients from within on hundred miles of New Orleans.
Paul Miller is originally from Opelousas, Louisiana, the home town of Chef Paul Prudhomme. Miller met Prudhomme during his tenure with Brennan's of Atlanta. Miller transfered to Commander's Palace in New Orleans in 1977 and began his career at K. Paul's Louisiana Kitchen in 1981. Today Chef Paul Miller serves as the Executive Chef of K. Paul's which includes an array of responsibilities. Miller works with Paul Prudhomme as consultants for multiple food manufacturers. He heads the catering division of K. Paul's. Miller trains visiting chefs how to perfect their own Louisiana flavor. He serves as culinary advisor to companies in Portland, Los Angeles, and Japan. Chef Paul Miller initiated the smoked meat facility established by K. Paul's which send shipments all over the United States. Miller has appeared on various television shows on NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and ESPN. In 2000, with Miller as Executive Chef, K. Paul's was awarded the prestigious Ivy Award. Miller held office as the President of the French Quarter Business Association for two years and currently serves as a board member. Chef Paul Miller is making culinary leaps and bounds under Chef Paul Prudhomme.
Chef Paul Prudhomme was born in Opelousas, Louisiana which is one hundred and fifty five miles Northwest of New Orleans located in the heart of the Acadian country. Prudhomme was born the youngest of thirteen children and developed a love for the culinary arts a an early age. In July 1979 he and his late wife K Hinrichs Prudhomme opened the doors of K. Paul's Louisiana Kitchen. Practically overnight there was a line around the French Quarter block waiting, dying to get a taste of what Chef Paul had to offer. Paul Prudhomme's Magic Seasoning Blends is a line of all natural herbs and spices which are distributed in all fifty states and over thirty countries worldwide. He also produces a line of seasoned and smoked meats and a variety of sauces and marinades for retail and institutional use. Chef Paul Prudhomme is one of America's most well known chefs. He has appeared on shows such as Latenight with Letterman, Larry King Live, NBC's Today Show, and ABC's Good Morning America. He has not only been featured in food publications such as Bon Appetit but also in Time, National Geographic Traveler, and Playboy. He was named "Restauranteur of the Year" in 1983 by the Louisiana State Restaurant Association. He was the first American-born chef to receive Merite? Agricole of the French Republic. Prudhomme has been honored with numerous awards such as "Culinarian of the Year," "Culinary Diplomat," "Fine Dining Legend Award," and even local awards such as the Ella Brennan Savior Faire Award. Chef Paul participate in America's Promise which is one of the countries most prominent youth development organizations. He is dedicated to spending time teaching at universities and culinary institutes all over the globe. In 1994 Prudhomme was inducted into the James Beard Foundation's Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America. Prudhomme is extremely devoted to charities such as Meals on Wheels, March of Dimes, Chef and Child, and is the national spokesperson for Cystinosis. Chef Paul Prudhomme was the first chef to participate in the Robert Mondavi "Great Chef of America" series. He was selected to participate in the three thounsandth anniversary of Jerusalem in 1996 where every chef created a signature Kosher dish for King David's Feast. Prudhomme has published eight cookbooks and produced six cooking videos. Chef Paul Prudhomme has a series based on his cookbooks which currently airs on cable television or The Public Broadcasting System.
Chef Lazone Randolph began his culinary career at Brennan's in 1965 under Chef Paul Blange just after graduation from high school in New Orleans. He is currently the executive chef of Brennan's. Chef Randolph has cooked for the United States Embassy, been featured on the Food Network and Travel Channels.
He began cooking in Southern California before moving to New Orleans. He worked in several Michelin starred French Restaurants in England, most notably under Chef Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons. He returned to New Orleans to work as sous chef at Lilette. Schnoebelen and his partner, maitre d'Laurie Casebonne, opened their restaurant, Iris, in January of 2006. Iris offers new American cuisine by concentrating on fresh, seasonal ingredients. Schnoebelen was voted one of America's Top 10 Best New Chefs 2007.
Chef Jamie Shannon grew up in New Jersey. He attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Upon graduation he intended to move to California but when offered at job at Commander's Palace he moved to New Orleans to work under Executive Chef Emeril Lagasse. Shannon started with sauces, salads, and hors d'oeuvres before moving on to morning and brunch cook. It was not long before Shannon became Sous Chef then Executive Sous Chef. In 1990 Lagasse left Commander's Palace in order to open the first of his family of restaurants and opened the Executive Chef job which allowed Jamie Shannon to step up to the plate. Shannon was well known for his unique innovation with the traditional New Orleans cuisine. He was reworking crawfish and oyster dishes so regularly that he was hard to keep up with at times. Shannon was also very well known for his hospitality which was highlighted by his outgoing and vibrant demeanor. Chef Jamie Shannon died at the early age of forty of cancer. Shannon will always be remembered by the culinary community of New Orleans who regrets that he was taken from us in the middle of his culinary prime.
Chef Ken Smith was born in Natchitoches, Louisiana which is located two hundred and thirty miles Northwest of New Orleans. He attended Delgado Culinary Academy in New Orleans. Smith is an avid collector of out of print cookbooks which is how he was led Jo Ann Clevanger. He was then hired at the Upperline in the Garden District where he worked under Executive Chef Tom Cowman and owner Jo Ann Clevanger. When Cowman died in 1994 Smith became the Executive Chef. Upperline is the most fun of the fine dining in New Orleans. Clevanger, the hands on, vibrant owner will meet you at the door and welcome you as you o enter into the culinary playground she and Smith have prepared. The rooms are covered wall to wall with local New Orleans artwork to add color to the background of your meal in a remarkable way.
Chef Susan Spicer is somewhat of a culinary legend in the Greater New Orleans Area. True to New Orleans flavor Spicer began her cooking career as an apprentice to Chef Daniel Bonnot at the Louis XVI Restaurant where she was trained in classic French cuisine. She then spent a four month stage with Chef Roland Durand at Hotel Sofitel in Paris. In 1982 Susan Spicer returned to New Orleans to serve as chef de cuisine at Savior Faire which was followed by a period at Henri in the Meridian Hotel. Spicer left to open Bistro at Maison de Ville in Hotel Maison deVille in 1986. After four years as a chef she formed a partnership with Regina Keever to open Bayona in 1990. Bayona is true to Spicer's culinary philosophy by taking flavours from around the world and putting her own style of New Orleans haute cuisine in unique dishes together. Spicer received the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Southeast Region in 1993. In 1995 Spicer was honored with the Robert Mondavi Culinary Excellence Award. Between the years of 1997 and 1999 Spicer owned and operated Spice, Inc. which was a food market that offered gourmet take out, cooking classes, and an artisian bakery. Spice, Inc. developed into Wild Flour Breads which Spicer still co-owns with partner Sandy Whann. In 2000 Susan Spicer and three other partners, including Donald Link, opened Herbsaint on Saint Charles Avenue. Herbsaint is a contemporary bistro-style restaurant with delightfully refreshing options on the menu. In September of 2001 Spicer opened Cobalt as the consulting chef with The Kimpton Group of San Francisco. Cobalt has since closed. Spicer has been featured numerous times in Food and Wine Magazine, Gourmet Magazine and other such publications. She has been asked to guest chef for people and places as prominent as the James Beard House and The Senate. Chef Susan Spicer has her fingers wrapped around the culinary culture of New Orleans as her window to the culinary culture of the world.
Chef Stephen Stryjewski was born in Kansas into a military family. He attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. He worked at Tra Vigne in Napa Valley until he moved to New Orleans to help Emanual Loubier open Dante's Kitchen. Stryjewski then joined the team at Herbsaint as a line cook. He soon became the sous chef and began to build his relationship with Chef Donald Link. He and Link worked together to conceive Cochon which opened in the spring of 2006. Cochon is a tribute to Cajun Southern Cooking and dedicated to supporting the local farming and agricultural communities.
Chef Sue Zemanick attended the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park. She began working at Gautreau's in 2003 as Sous Chef. In 2005 she became Executive Chef of Gautreau's where she is still bringing culinary wonders to the Uptown area. She was voted Best New Chef 2008 by Food and Wine Magazine. New Orleans Magazine named Zemanick Chef of the Year 2008.