Tony Chachere's Original Creole Seasoning turned 50 last year, and you can still get a commemorative anniversary can to celebrate, if you've run out or just want to try it for the first time. It was a staple in my parents' kitchen while I was growing up, and it's pretty much ubiquitous in pantries all over Louisiana. Megan Wyatt recently wrote an informative piece for The Acadiana Advocate providing some history of the chef, the spice blend, and his company, Tony Chachere's Famous Creole Cuisine. Wyatt explains:
Long before his namesake seasoning blend became a Louisiana pantry staple, Tony Chachere was known as the "Ole Master" of Creole cooking.
"Tonight, I'm gonna make 'em cry," he would often say while cooking for family and friends.
The Opelousas sportsman and chef didn't create his iconic Creole seasoning until after he retired in 1972 at the age of 65.
He wrote and published "Tony Chachere's Cajun Country Cookbook" the same year and sold 10,000 copies from the back of his station wagon in a few weeks. There was one recipe in the cookbook his fans continuously asked him to sell — his signature blend of spices.
And, as an answer to the persistent question, Tony Chachere's famous Creole seasoning was born.
While Tony himself passed away in Opelousas, Louisiana on March 19, 1995 at the age of 89, his family keeps the business going strong, as Megan Wyatt of The Acadiana Advocate explains:
"What started as my great-grandfather's life-long dream has now become a devoted mission for four generations of the Chachere family," said Celeste Chachere, marketing director for Tony Chachere's, in a statement. "Making the flavors of his beloved Cajun and Creole cuisine accessible to the world beyond Louisiana is what Mr. Tony was most passionate about, and we are continually looking for new ways to bring more flavor to every meal people eat, just as he always dreamed."
If you already have some of the famous spice blend and need some inspiration for how to use it, the company's website has lots of recipes, including Tony's Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya, Blackened Catfish, Cajun BBQ Prawns, and more!