Paul Prudhomme Talks Food Festivals and New Orleans' Culinary Comeback

At the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival the chef discussed New Orleans' comeback
Chef Paul Prudhomme at the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival.
Arthur Bovino

Chef Paul Prudhomme at the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival.

At the Los Angeles Food & Wine Festival on a Friday night in October, Train was performing at the Lexus Live on the Plaza event. On the other side of the plaza, legendary chef Paul Prudhomme sat at his booth, which was serving gumbo and pralines. The chef was kind enough to share a few minutes of his time to talk about festivals and how New Orleans' food scene has recovered since Katrina.

Chef, you’re a legendary pioneer in the food world, what do you think about these festivals  popping up everywhere and how things have changed since you started out?
I think the most important thing in what we do, because we’ve been doing it for so long and we’ve made so much money for us, is that we need to give back. And what we need to pay back is what Wolfgang and I started a long time ago. It was his, it wasn’t mine, but I was at the first one and it was just wonderful that we do it, that we still get people coming.  This time it’s going to be the biggest ever.

In terms of what New Orleans has gone through over the past few years, what are you seeing with how the city’s food scene has come back?
It’s about 90 percent back and by the end of this season or the next one it’s going to be back on its feet.

Have you seen new trends or cuisines coming in to New Orleans that you haven’t seen before?
What was really happening what was amazing to us was that people were coming in from somewhere else and putting restaurants up. And we said, “Well, they’re out of their minds!” [laughs] Some of them survived but most of them didn’t, you know.