Each year when we begin planning our Best Chefs issue, it’s like getting a jolt of creative energy. The process begins with a flurry of emails as the art director and I work with the writer and photographer to compile a list of candidates. Then the hard part kicks in: narrowing it down. There are so many talented chefs in the region, which is a great problem to have, but it makes it tough to decide who to include any given year. That said, it’s inspiring to learn about the lives and careers of the chefs we are considering for the profiles.
As you’ll glean from the piece, the chefs in Acadiana come from all walks of life. Some are native Acadianians following in the footsteps of beloved family members, while others are from other regions or countries and bring their own unique culinary traditions to the table. From French-Mediterranean fine dining fusion to tacos and barbecue and, naturally, the gumbo and plate lunches Acadianians can’t get enough of, our chefs this year are dishing up whatever your heart — and palate — desires.
If you are looking for a getaway outside of the region (and to try good eats along the way), you’re in for a treat with our New Orleans and Natchitoches travel story. There are loads of things to do in both cities and we can’t think of a better time to visit either place than in the fall or through the holidays. Just pick whichever suits your mood and hit the road. I for one am looking forward to another year of celebrating Thanksgiving at the Fair Grounds. This annual tradition dates back to the 1800s and draws generations of New Orleanians and visitors alike to ring in a new season of horse racing while noshing on a bountiful turkey spread with all of the fixin’s (or the usual race track fare if you aren’t a traditionalist), sipping cocktails and breaking out their fabulous hats or — in some cases — full costumes. It is a truly singular experience and worth a day trip or inclusion in a long weekend. Maybe we’ll see you there?
Whether you pick a foodie adventure or a weekend getaway (or both) for this issue, bon appétit and bon voyage!