a busy time for the fiery Cajun who was named "One of America's
25 hot, new chefs" by Food & Wine Magazine and was called "a
tyrant, genius chef" by Esquire. In the same year he opened
on the North Shore and coped with the fire, he moved Alex Patout's
Louisiana Restaurant from its longtime Royal Street location
in the French Quarter to 720 St. Louis Street.
bayou- born Patout was schooled in classic Cajun cookery in
his hometown of New Iberia. His ancestors left the sugar cane
business to open their first family restaurant in 1918. But
Patout knew there was more to life than the Cajun mainstays
like "jambalaya, crawfish pie and file' gumbo."
moving to New Orleans, he became enamored with the Creole cooking
legacy that ruled the city for centuries. And he was surprised
by the compatibility of the two distinctive but neighboring
cuisines. "Both Cajun and Creole cooking incorporate a lot of
slow-cooked 'pot' food." And he pointed out that both, even
to the point of overlapping, make use of the abundance of fresh
seafood harvested daily from all the lakes, bayous, swamps and
nearby Gulf of Mexico.
the chef first opened Alex Patout's Louisiana Restaurant at
221 Royal Street more than 15 years ago, the menu was weighted
heavily with Cajun classics like Rabbit Sauce Piquant and Smothered
Roast Duck. Over time, the Creole influences have become increasingly
visible, with New Orleans classics like Crabmeat Imperial and
Shrimp Remoulade. Perhaps that marriage (and dichotomy of menu)
was consummated in the year 2000 when New Orleans Magazine named
his restaurant "Best Creole Restaurant" and Where Magazine named
it "Best Cajun Restaurant." But the accolades for Patout's cooking
have come continuously since his first plate of Crawfish Etouffee.
Esquire Magaine said he was one of the "men under 40 who are
changing America" and The James Beard Foundations said he was
a "Who's Who of Cooking in America" as far back as 1987.