If it weren't for Chef Paul Prudhomme, we wouldn't have turducken, and Cajun/Creole cuisine would not have become the global sensation it is today. When the charismatic television chef popularized blackened redfish, it became such an obsession the species nearly went extinct.
Prudhomme died today, at 75. His restaurant, K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, confirmed the news to CNN
, and said he died after a “brief illness,” the nature of which was not further specified.
If you read only one obituary, make it his hometown paper: The New Orleans Times-Picayune. If you're not old enough to remember when he was a fixture on public television, here's a primer on why Chef Paul was so awesome.
At its peak in the 1980s, Prudhomme's profile cast a shadow even over such culinary legends as Julia Child and James Beard, and there was no restaurant-world precedent for the celebrity he enjoyed. The portly chef starred in several cooking shows and home videos, was a regular on local and national TV, appeared on magazine covers and became a best-selling cookbook author a decade before chefs such as Emeril Lagasse, his heir at Commander's Palace, ushered in the age of the celebrity chef. His first of eight books, 1984's "Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen, " is still widely considered a classic.
“I think that Paul Prudhomme has had the greatest influence on American cooking, in cultivating the public interest in American food, of anybody I know,” said New York Times food critic Craig Claiborne in a 1988 interview. Read the rest