Monday, April 20, 2009

Donald Link's "Real Cajun"

Last spring I had the good fortune to interview James Beard Award-winning Chef Donald Link for the inaugural post of the "Dining with Bacchus" blog.

He told me about his cookbook, which had just gone off to the publisher:
Link has also just finished a cookbook, due out in Spring 2009. The book is a compilation of family recipes rather than a restaurant cookbook. The chef developed these recipes at home: no cheating with restaurant cookware, super-hot stoves, and other accessories that amateur cooks usually lack. The only drawback to the process, Link says, is not having someone to wash the dishes. (He hates washing dishes. And waiting tables. He's done enough of both jobs in the climb to his current status.) Although the publisher is marketing the book as "real Cajun and rustic home cooking," the chef resists the "real" tag: he says he's uncomfortable defining "Cajun" for everyone.

Link says he made an extra effort to make the recipes user friendly. Instead of merely stating how long a dish should cook and at what temperature, he calls, for example, for "cooking for ten minutes until the top bubbles" or "until the sides brown."
Read the complete story of my visit to Link's flagship restaurant, Herbsaint.

The book--titled Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link's Louisiana--is now available, and it features praise from the likes of Alice Waters, Anthony Bourdain, and Jimmy Buffett.

Bon appetit!

--Marshal Zeringue