An American culinary legend has just passed away. Paul Prudhomme was the great popularizer of Cajun and Creole cuisine in America. Prior to his work, European food was considered the high point of culinary class in America. He showed that our native foods can be just as complex, rich, and elegant as anything Europe could produce.
He was also one of the first proponents of the farm-to-table movement before there was a farm-to-table movement. He would regularly travel from New Orleans back to his home town to get local ingredients from suppliers he had known all his life. He was raised in a family of sharecroppers.
Prudhomme popularized blackening, where a piece of meat is coated in spices and then seared in a pan. It became so popular he worried it would overshadow his beloved traditional Cajun dishes.
He was also known for this weight. At one point he weighed 580 pounds but by the end of his life he found a way to slim down to around 200 by closely watching how much he ate in the kitchen.
He leaves behind his New Orleans restaurant K-Paul, his line of spice mixes, and a nationwide respect and popularity for Cajun food. He will be missed.