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ibstubro's avatar

Anyone care to mark the passing of chef Paul Prudhomme, celebrity chef who took Cajun cookin' mainstream?

Asked by ibstubro (18717points) October 10th, 2015

In the 1980’s I worked in a restaurant specializing in the new American food craze, ‘Cajun’. A professional chef set the menu and we had what I believed was an innovative combination of Cajun food, seafood and pasta.

After problems with the chef, I became kitchen manager. That was a problem because I had no experience with Cajun food and there were no cookbooks. I began buying books with my own money. Imagine my surprise when I got Prudhomme’s book and discovered our ‘secret seasoning’ was Cajun Magic and that the blackening recipes, Turtle soup, etc. were just stolen from Prudhomme!

Even though I’ve gotten old enough to temper my tolerance for hot spices, I still long for a blackened chicken sandwich on crusty bread with sour cream, tomato and lettuce!

RIP Chef Prudhomme. You lived life with zest and brought a lot of spice to our culinary lives.

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6 Answers

jaytkay's avatar

I’m a Midwesterner and lived in New Orleans for a short time in the early 80s. This was long before the Internet and celebrity chefs.

Cajun food was truly exotic to me. My favorite experience was getting a bowl of gumbo with a crawfish poking its head up and staring at me. The waiter saw I was disconcerted. “He’s dead, you know. It’s like a shrimp. Eat it. Everybody does.”

Well, if everybody can do it, so can I.

Anyway, I moved back north. And Paul Prudhomme became famous and taught America about the wonderful food of Louisiana. And among my friends, I was a pioneer, who already knew about the “new” Cajun food.

So thanks, Paul! You gave a lot of joy to a lot of people!

ibstubro's avatar

Thanks, @jaytkay.
That reminds me that my uncle, too was enamored of Cajun food before it went mainstream. There was a restaurant in New Orleans he would call and they would cook him a batch of crawfish, pack them in styrofoam, and airmail them to St. Louis. He’d drive in, pick them up and arrive with them still warm in the container at his rural Missouri home. He didn’t live long into the Cajun craze, but he was a pioneer, too.

Prudhomme did bring a lot of pleasure to a lot of people, decades long and going strong.

jca's avatar

I remember my mom being really into Paul Prudhomme when his cookbooks came out (1970’s or 80’s). My grandfather was from Louisiana so that added to the appeal.

I was always amazed that he could live so long being so heavy.

keobooks's avatar

I’m gonna let you finish, but. Justin Wilson was the greatest Cajun chef of all time. All time.

ibstubro's avatar

Justin Wilson was very entertaining, @keobooks, but, honestly, I never knew anyone that actually tried hie recipes.
I was more familiar with Wilson’s personality, with Prudhomme’s food.

Just sayin.

Been missin you of late.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Ger-ron-teed on Justin Wilson ! !

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