Isaac Toups

I don’t want to die cooking, I wanna retire one day, and then die somewhere else. So restaurants? Hold on. I’ve had enough of that stress. So i’m trying to make my money with other venues, and i’m really actually enjoying writing books and i’m enjoying being on TV.

-Isaac Toups

Born in Rayne, Louisiana, Chef Isaac Toups has come quite a long way from his early beginnings deep in Cajun Country, now owning two of the most highly regarded restaurants in New Orleans: Toups Meatery and Toups South. Toups may be a long way from his hometown, but the flavors that he grew up with are constantly present in his food, as is his deep respect and love for them. A pioneer of “Modern Cajun” cuisine, Toups combines the Cajun flavors of his hometown with the techniques and finesse of a classically trained chef, with some unlikely new flavors and ideas that he picked up from friends along the way. A husband and father of two, Isaac Toups has built quite the resumé for himself, working under famed Chef Emeril Lagasse for 12 years as he rose in the ranks of the kitchen, competing on Season 13 of Top Chef, owning two of the top restaurants in the city, and writing a cookbook that has been chosen for the New York Times Best List, all while being a strong family man. Toups’ love for food and family is obvious in any conversation with him, as he reminisces on the days of cooking catfish couvillion with his grandmother, tells of a new venison dish that he has created for his restaurants, or simply tells about the meals that he cooks for family dinner every night at home.

Bibliographic citation for this interview:

Toups, Isaac. Isaac Toups. Interview by Robyn Caire. Videorecording, transcript, November 26, 2018. Service Industry Collection. Documentary and Oral History Studio, Loyola University New Orleans.

For more information about the Documentary and Oral History Studio’s interview collections and their use, please contact studio director Justin A. Nystrom. This interview and all related material including text and images are © 2018 Documentary and Oral History Studio, Loyola University New Orleans.

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