It doesn’t take much time spent with me in person — or viewing my social media feed — to realize I love food. While my paternal grandma was the cook in the family and passed down a love of experimenting in the kitchen, my maternal grandma and grandpa were much more inclined to dine out and bestowed upon me a passion for trying new (and new-to-me) restaurants. My family as a rule is pretty old school in their food preferences, favoring Southern classics over ethnic fare or anything remotely unfamiliar. Which makes me wonder: Where  did I acquire my spirit of culinary adventure?

My guess is that living in different cities and states outside of where I grew up in rural Kentucky and traveling throughout the U.S. and abroad is the root of it. Growing up, I certainly wouldn’t have imagined eating sushi, much less making it. In fact, even enchiladas, which became a staple meal when we lived in Texas and continues to make frequent appearances on my plate, seemed exotic to me until I hit my late 20s. That seems as downright absurd for me to write as it likely is for you to read.

Since moving to Louisiana, I’ve learned that I love all sorts of local seafood beyond the cocktail and fried shrimp I grew up eating. Oysters (raw and cooked) and crawfish definitely top the list. For those, I almost always go out to a restaurant and let the pros do the work for me.     

Our story on page 42 about the fishing and shrimping business in the region is unfortunately not as happy as we’d hoped, but it’s a story worth telling and illustrates the struggle of the hardworking men and women who catch our food. This is a region filled with resilient and resourceful people and we hope to write an altogether different and brighter story in the coming years.

Perhaps eating local seafood is something we can all do in the meantime.  

On a lighter note, one of my favorite features each year is our Best Chefs roundup. We have a heaping helping of talented individuals profiled on page 30 and we hope you love reading about them and trying their food as much as we did. Cheers!

Note de l’editeur

Melanie Warner Spencer, Managing Editor
(504) 830-7239 |