If there’s one thing we know to be true about Louisianans, it’s this: We are passionate about our food. As Chef Gabriel Balderas, one of the 2016 Chefs to Watch, puts it, “Louisiana is one of the only states that has such a rich culinary tradition. We like to celebrate and gather around food. You don’t see that in any other state. They don’t have these traditions that have been passed down for generations.”
In a state with such a storied culinary heritage, the best chefs uphold our time-honored traditions while keeping an eye toward the future. In 2002, Louisiana Cookin’ introduced Chefs to Watch as a way of recognizing talented up-and-coming chefs from restaurants around the Bayou State who show passion for traditions while delivering fresh, new concepts. This year’s lineup of Chefs to Watch includes both Louisiana natives and transplants who draw from the state’s bounty of fresh local ingredients as well as their own personal experiences.
The 2016 Chefs to Watch are Gabriel Balderas of El Cabo Verde, who brings fresh, authentic Mexican fare to Shreveport; Ruby Bloch of Meauxbar, Cavan, and Sylvain, who turns out stunning, inventive desserts in the Crescent City; Lyle Broussard of Jack Daniel’s Bar & Grill at L’Auberge Lake Charles, who highlights the flavors of southwest Louisiana in his dishes; Phillip Mariano formerly of Josephine Estelle, who adds a Southern flair to Italian cuisine; Nathan Richard of Kingfish, who redefines Cajun cooking in New Orleans’ French Quarter; and Ashley Roussel of The Saint Street Inn, who shares her passion for farm-to-table cooking in Lafayette.
Meet the 2016 Chefs to Watch.
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Pick up a copy of the Louisiana Cookin’ September/October issue for our 2016 Chefs to Watch coverage.