Nelson Gonzales – Southern Foodways Alliance arrow left envelope headphones search facebook instagram twitter flickr menu rss play circle itunes calendar

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.

< Back to Oral History project: Career Servers

ORAL HISTORY

Nelson Gonzales


Nelson Gonzales was born in Puebla, Mexico. At age nine, his family relocated to Lafayette, Louisiana. After spending his first three years at Tulane University, Gonzales decided that New Orleans had more to offer than what he found on campus. In the late 1990s, he began working at the last of chef Kevin Graham’s fine-dining restaurants in New Orleans, Sapphire. The experience set a theme for the next twenty years of his career, during which he primarily worked in the city’s reviving Central Business District and Warehouse District. There Gonzalez enjoyed a front seat to emerging trends in New Orleans food, serving at places like Cuvée, that transcended traditional New Orleans fare.

John Besh recruited Gonzalez to work at his steakhouse in Harrah’s Casino. Today, Gonzales lives in Mid-City and works at Gabrielle Restaurant. Throughout his career, the transience of restaurant work has appealed to Gonzalez. It allows him to pursue a love of acting and the theater, a world in which he observes many parallels with the human drama that unfolds in upscale New Orleans dining rooms.

Date of interview:
2019-06-21

Interviewer:
Justin Nystrom

Photographer:
L. Kasimu Harris

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.