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Top Chefs in New Orleans

These chefs are creating some of the best food in the world

People come to New Orleans to eat, and for superb reason. Our game-changing culinary repast is world renowned, informed by three centuries of cultural gastronomy and an army of dedicated chefs and creatives. We have our own Creole cuisine, a legion of mom and pop corner stores that dish irresistible food regularly and a cavalcade of ingenious chefs intent on preserving the classics while others create new traditions. And some are wildly successful doing both.

With more restaurants in the city than ever, the culinary landscape is vibrant and evolving. Many of the city’s chefs (and some mixologists) have earned international accolades, from James Beard Foundation awards to inclusion in best new chef/restaurant line-ups -- because what they serve is just always that good. Here are a few of the top chefs around town, creators of an only-in-New Orleans never-ending feast.

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  • Emeril Lagasse’s TV shows, cookbooks and restaurants helped to define New Orleans cuisine for the rest of the world.
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  • An award-winning chef and an inspiration for a Disney princess, Leah Chase spent the last seven decades of her life creating delicious meals at her restaurant, Dooky Chase’s.
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  • There’s a Link between fish and pork in New Orleans and his name is Donald. He has redefined traditional Cajun food at his string on contemporary restaurants. 
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  • Chef Tory McPhail’s career grew, literally, from farm to table, and New Orleans is the lucky recipient. He is a multi award-winning chef at Commander's Palace.
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  • From St. Lucia to New Orleans, this Top Chef alum fell in love with NOLA and the city has fallen right back in love with her and her warm personality and Caribbean-inspired cooking.
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  • Variety is the spice of life for Susan Spicer. A native of Key West, she is one of New Orleans most recognized and popular chefs, most notably for her classic restaurant, Bayona.
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  • His face won’t be forgotten – a visage equally sly and cheerful – and neither will his food, which you can still taste at K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen. 
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  • Frank Brigtsen is still lighting a fire under inventive Creole cooking, just as he did in 1986, the year he opened his iconic Uptown restaurant Brigtsen’s. 
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  • Arriving in New Orleans with no formal culinary training, Justin Devillier decided he would become a chef in one of the most competitive restaurant cities in the world-- and succeeded. 
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  • For Alon Shaya, a passion for Middle Eastern food may have started in his native Israel, but it flowered in New Orleans.
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  • In May 2014, when the James Beard Foundation named Ryan Prewitt "Best Chef: South" and his restaurant, Pêche Seafood Grill, "Best New Restaurant."
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  • Rebecca is the Executive Chef at the Link Restaurant Group’s newest restaurant Gianna. In 2017, she was honored with the prestigious “Best Chef: South” award from the James Beard...
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  • After the huge success of his first restaurant, Michael opened Maypop in December of 2016, a more elegant MOPHO spinoff in the Warehouse District.
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  • Winner of the 2011 James Beard Foundation “Best Chef South,” Stephen Stryjewski is Chef/Partner of New Orleans’ award winning restaurants Cochon, Cochon Butcher, Pêche Seafood...
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  • Chef-owner, Jason Goodenough, of Carrollton Market is more than "good enough." Chef Jason takes a hands-on approach in an intimate setting with a culinary line-up that will wow. 
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  • In 2008, Michael opened Coquette –“a culinary playground." Today Coquette is known for internationally inspired, contemporary Southern cuisine created with locally sourced products.
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  • Chef/Owner Kristen Essig of Coquette kicked off her Crescent City culinary career with Chef Emeril Lagasse at Emeril’s, followed by Chef and mentor Anne Kearney at Peristyle.
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  • Chef John Harris of Lilette has been a James Beard finalist for "Best Chef South" in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. 
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  • A native to New Orleans, Chef Adolfo fuses the tastes of local seafood and Creole dishes with the flavors of the Latin American food he ate at the family dinner table.
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  • James Beard Winning chef, Sue Zemanick, made her mark on New Orleans years ago. Her new restaurant, Zasu, is now turning heads.  
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