Famous Black Chefs of Louisiana

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Highly respected African-American chefs who specialize in Creole and Cajun cooking have called the state of Louisiana, and particularly New Orleans their home. Some are no longer living, but maintain their place in the region's unofficial culinary hall of fame, which has for the most part, been dominated by European chefs.

Stanley Jackson

  • Jackson, from a large New Orleans family, studied at the John R. Thompson School of Culinary Arts in Chicago before returning to his hometown to cook at the restaurant of D.H. Holmes. Jackson later met celebrity Louisiana chef Paul Prudhomme, and so impressed him with his cooking that Prudhome hired him as executive chef at K-Paul's.

Leah Chase

  • Chase is the executive chef of her New Orleans restaurant Dooky Chase, a landmark of Creole culture and a meeting-place of civil rights activists in the 1960s. She has been the recipient of numerous culinary and African-American cultural awards, and serves on the board of several New Orleans arts organizations.

Charles Adrian "Didee" Lastrapes

  • Didee Lastrapes owned the famous Opelousas, Louisiana roast-duck and gumbo restaurant in the early part of the 20th century, which doubled as a gambling and bootlegging hideout by night. Though Didee died in the 1940s, the restaurant stayed open until the 1970s, under the operation of his wife, Miz Anna, and their descendants.

Austin Leslie

  • Leslie began his career as a fried-chicken delivery boy, and eventually became the owner and chef of Chez Helene, the New Orleans restaurant he inherited from his aunt, Helen DeJean Pollock. Famous for both his fried chicken and his trademark yachtsman's cap with mutton-chop sideburns, Leslie died in 2005 of heat exhaustion, following Hurricane Katrina.

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