Each fall, the Southern Foodways Alliance, with support from the Fertel Foundation, honors an unsung hero or heroine of traditional Southern foodways with the Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award. This year’s Keeper of the Flame is Alzina Toups of Galliano, Louisiana, who has quietly built a devoted following for the traditional Cajun fare she serves out of her no-frills restaurant.
Alzina’s offers a one-of-a-kind dining experience. In Mrs. Toups’s own words, it’s more of “get-together place” than a traditional restaurant. She entertains only one party per mealtime and accepts no walk-ins. While she’s currently renowned for specialties such as crabmeat lasagna (she boils and picks her own crabs) and fig tart, Mrs. Toups has a vast repertoire that spans two cookbooks and numerous composition notebooks stacked in the corner of her kitchen.
You can call (985) 632-7200 to make a reservation to dine at Alzina’s, but you’ll have to be patient. As Mrs. Toups announced from the stage as she accepted her award, she is currently booked through March 2014.
If you’d like to learn more about Alzina Toups, her life, and her food, read her oral history, conducted by Sara Roahen for the SFA.