A Few of the Best Known Chefs of Louisiana
Great meals and Louisiana go together like gumbo and rice—you can’t think of one without the other. And behind every Louisiana dish is a chef who ensures that diners are getting an experience they won’t find anywhere else on Earth. Here are some of the culinary geniuses who are making sure Louisiana maintains its reputation as a food lover’s dream destination.
A few of the top chefs and restaurants to experience in Louisiana
As the winner of the 2014 James Beard award for Best New Chef: South, you can be sure Sue Zemanick knows her way around the kitchen. See her in action on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters and on Top Chef New Orleans, or better yet, taste her signature dishes in person at New Orleans restaurants Gautreau’s and Ivy.
Manny Aguello's Twitter bio sums it up: "obsessed chef & charcutier. culinary activist. representative of the new garde. madly devoted to food & culture. kitchen junkie." While at Jolie's Bistro in Lafayette, Aguello was invited to cook at the Farm to Table Dinner at the James Beard House in New York. Visit Manny at Bread & Circus Provisions in Lafayette for charcuterie and other "playful food."
Chef/owner Jeffrey Hansell oversees the kitchen at one of the Northshore’s newest dining destinations, Oxlot 9, based in downtown Covington’s refurbished Southern Hotel. Hansell has trained at New Orleans restaurants Lüke and Commander’s Palace, and in 2014 he was nominated for Food & Wine’s People’s Best New Chef: Gulf Coast award.
Chef Aaron Burgau is the cofounder of Patois, a restaurant serving French fare with Southern accents located in uptown New Orleans. He is also the recent winner of one of Louisiana’s highest culinary honors, the King of Louisiana Seafood award (taking over from 2013 winners Sam and Cody Carroll of Hot Tails Restaurant in New Roads).
As the executive chef at New Orleans’ world-famous Commander’s Palace, Tory McPhail has won accolades that include the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the South in 2013. It wasn’t because the competition was lacking, however—that year, competitors for the prize included chefs from local restaurants Domenica and La Petite Grocery.
Few chefs in the world are so famous that they’re known by one name. Emeril is among them. The man behind Emeril's New Orleans, NOLA Restaurant and Emeril's Delmonico is a pioneer in what’s widely known as “new New Orleans” cuisine—contemporary twists on traditional Creole fare.
Chef Bahr’s list of accolades keeps getting longer, with awards that include Food & Wine’s Best New Chef in the U.S. and being named the King of Louisiana Seafood. He’s also one of north Louisiana’s shining culinary stars, exemplified by his restaurants Cotton and Nonna, both located in Monroe.
Ryan André believes so strongly in what he does that he has the word “CHEF” tattooed on his arm. The Baton Rouge native has certainly paid his dues, graduating from the Louisiana Culinary Institute (where he was the valedictorian) and working at Baton Rouge restaurants The Little Village and Le Creole. Today he’s manning the kitchen at City Pork, where sophisticated deli dishes and specialty meats are served daily.
In 2013 he was selected as one of Louisiana Cookin' magazine's "Chefs to Watch." James Beard nominated, Chef Justin Girouard spent six years in the kitchen at Stella! in New Orleans where he perfected his technique before opening The French Press in Lafayette. SAVEUR Magazine named The French Press in their Top 100 Inspiring Place and Things to Eat issue in Jan/Feb 2013.
Few chefs can claim to love Louisiana cuisine as much as John Besh. Besides his T.V. career on PBS and being the host of LouisianaCulinaryTrails.com’s Taste-umentary video series, he is also a James Beard Award-winning chef who owns some of New Orleans’ best-known restaurants (Pizza Domenica, Lüke, Borgne, Besh Steak and Restaurant August).
Susan Spicer is a James Beard Award-winning chef best known for Bayona, a fusion restaurant in New Orleans’ French Quarter that is housed in a 200-year-old Creole cottage and courtyard. Stop by Bayona for a taste of Spicer’s multicultural creations, or at Herbsaint (which she cofounded), or her newest endeavor, Mondo.
The namesake of the John Folse Culinary Institute and author of The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cooking is also one of Louisiana’s most beloved chefs. Experience dining as an art form at his and chef Rick Tramonto’s Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans and at Lafitte’s Landing Restaurant at Bittersweet Plantation in Donaldsonville.
Louisiana is home to far more praiseworthy chefs. Discover more of them, plus recipes, restaurants and the Taste-umentary video series at Louisiana Culinary Trails. Your taste buds will thank you.