posts #29 - #50 are recipes from chef alex patout. here is a little bit about him.... Alex Patout: A Profile Alex Patout no longer views himself so insistently as the bearer of 175 years of family cooking tradition, seeing himself instead as a transition to the Louisiana cuisine of the future. As chef, as restaurateur, as food purveyor and as media personality, Patout has matured in his grasp of the storyline developing with the state's two bountiful styles, Creole and Cajun. And he has sensed the world maturing with him, from the followers of a fad to devotees of a rich and varied menu. "The basic trend," observes the chef-owner of Alex Patout's Louisiana Restaurant, "is taking the best local ingredients and the heritage of a cooling style that is absolutely country and adapting it with the help of ongoing modern techniques. These techniques are being utilized, and even developed at our restaurant. "You have homestyle Louisiana cooking, and then you have a restaurant you are trying to run successfully, with an ongoing evolution of cooking. This cooking has to change and develop, not really away from homestyle but beyond it." For over twenty years, since even before the national craze for any food that called itself Cajun, Patout has been an honored practitioner and a charismatic spokesman for a family cooking experience dating from 1828. In that year, the first Patout arrived in Louisiana from France with hopes of establishing a vineyard on a 4,000-acre land grant. Grapes proved a bad idea in this new world of bayous and humidity, so the family turned to something the French had mastered in warm, wet climates as far off as the Indian Ocean sugar cane. This provided the income for a series of large Patout families to experiment on the wizardry of keeping every member well fed. Alex Patout unknowingly began developing food standards at birth that's simply the way it was around his house. He also watched his father struggle to stay afloat in the restaurant business until the insurance industry lured him away. The family was not amused, therefore, when young Alex decided to invest his accounting degree in opening his first eatery in the Patouts' hometown of New Iberia, Louisiana. New Iberia is a tiny town recognized primarily as the jumping-off place for Avery Island, where Tabasco sauce is made, as a well as a center of Louisiana's rice trade. Before long, it would be known as the place that produced the Patout's of Cajun cooking. By the early 1980s, the chef was ready to catch the wave and not be thrown off. Food and Wine magazine proclaimed him one of the top 25 chefs in America, while Esquire named him one of the "men under 40 who are changing America." After Random House thrust a book contract in his hands, Patout found inspiration in his family roots, showcasing them in the successful "Patout's Cajun Home Cooking" and waxing eloquent about them during a national media tour. Patout is now celebrating 15 years in New Orleans' French Quarter with the restaurant he runs on St. Louis Street with wife, Marcia. "Every dish, no matter how long it's been done, can be changed to make it better," says Patout, clearly stating a deeply held conviction. "We can never afford to sit back and say, 'There's nothing better than this.' Sometimes it takes common sense, and sometimes it takes slow development, but what I tell chefs is this: Take every dish and keep it in your mind that you can do something to make it better."