Donald Link (chef at Herbsaint and chef/co-owner at Cochon, both in New Orleans) is up for Outstanding Chef at this year's James Beard Awards. Candidates in this category are noted as inspiring other chefs to excellence, and have at least five years experience in their restaurants. Link's Acadianan style is simple, and marked by his use of fresh, local seafood and plenty of Cajun spice. In a quick fire round of questions (he's got an awards show to get to, afterall), we caught up with Donald on some of his preferences for New Orleans style cuisine and living.
(Go to jamesbeard.org to purchase tickets to the awards event on Monday, May 7th in NYC. If you can’t attend, check in on the live stream, broadcast from the website, or follow announcements on twitter @beardfounation or from our own Features Editor, Jennifer Cole @jennifervcole.)
Which Southern city has the most exciting emerging food scene?
What’s your favorite flavor?
Meat and salt.
What’s your favorite spot to eat in New Orleans?
What's the first thing you learned to cook from your grandparents?
What's the dish on your menu that best represents your style of cooking?
Duck confit with dirty rice.
What’s the secret to a great gumbo?
Slow cooked roux, and a good stock.
What’s your favorite cookbook?
Ma Gastronomie by Fernand Point.
Oyster or fried shrimp po’boy?
Louisiana Hot Sauce or Tabasco?
Depends. I use both.
Blues or Jazz?
Sazerac or Ramos Gin Fizz?
Saints or Tigers?