arrow left envelope headphones search facebook instagram twitter flickr menu rss play circle itunes

Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region.

ORAL HISTORY

Frank Brigtsen


A young, broke, newly girlfriend-less Frank Brigtsen had no idea that he was about to begin his life’s work the day he answered a classified ad for aspiring Creole cooks at Commander’s Palace. It was the 1970s, and Paul Prudhomme was Commander’s revolutionary executive chef. This was also the defining era when Chef Paul opened his own restaurant, K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, in the French Quarter—a restaurant that, according to Frank, was the first in New Orleans to serve home-style Cajun specialties such as jambalaya. Soon enough Chef Paul hired Frank to direct K-Paul’s kitchen. Several decades and thousands of pots of gumbo later, Frank has a landmark restaurant of his own, Brigtsen’s, where the rabbit and andouille filé gumbo is a deep brown, velveteen potage. His secrets? Baking his roux slowly in the oven, rather than browning it on the stovetop, and sautéing the filé powder with his seasoning vegetables. And one more thing: always keeping his Louisiana heritage close to his stirring arm.

Date of interview:
2007-07-26 00:00

Interviewer:
Sara Roahen

Photographer:
Sara Roahen

Download Transcript

Other Project Interviews

WORKING TOGETHER

WE CAN CULTIVATE PROGRESS.

The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.

BECOME A MEMBER TODAY

Bill Smith Crooks Corner

Let’s Stay in Touch


Sign up for the SFA newsletter to have the latest content
delivered directly to your inbox.