Two-time finalist for James Beard “Best Chef: South”; Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” season 13 “Fan Favorite;” and author of The New York Times’ “Best Cookbooks of Fall 2018,” Chasing the Gator – Isaac Toups & the New Cajun Cooking (October 23, 2018 Little, Brown and Company), Chef Isaac Toups exemplifies the new guard of Cajun chefs and is Chef/Owner of Toups Meatery and Toups South in New Orleans. Born and raised in Rayne, Louisiana – the heart of Cajun country – Toups is known for his “born and braised” culinary style. His unique combination of childhood roots, heavily influenced by both grandmothers, along with honing his skills in some of New Orleans’ most acclaimed restaurants – including a decade of fine dining experience in Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans kitchens – gives Chef Isaac Toups a cutting-edge that is unrivaled.000-square-foot
His first restaurant, Toups’ Meatery, opened in April 2012, and is a glimpse into “Isaac’s Id” – the Cajun rustic cookery he grew up knowing, with his unique updated, sophisticated approach. At Toups’ Meatery, diners will find authentic Cracklins’ on the menu which have been called “equal to Christendom’s finest,” along with his signature Meatery Board – a wonderful selection of house cured meats and accompaniments. The menu, broken down by small and large plates, includes signature dishes like slow cooked Lamb Neck with black eye pea ragout and fennel; Confit Chicken Thighs ham braised greens, dijon cream and lardons; and Gulf Seafood Couvillon, along with other robust dishes reflect Chef’s refined approach to his deep-rooted Louisiana family traditions.
In fall 2016, Toups opened his second restaurant concept, Toups South, inside the Southern Food & Beverage Museum in New Orleans. The 2,000-square-foot restaurant blends rustic charm with modern touches, creating an unpretentious environment in an industrial-chic setting. Whereas Toups’ Meatery serves as the Chef’s reinterpretation of authentic Cajun cuisine, at Toups South he branches out beyond Cajun. Toups takes a bold approach to dissect the flavors and styles of every region in the South to create dishes which showcase the best of southern fare. Menu offerings include Whole Lamb Terrine with pickled sweet peppers, mint mustard, country crostini; Inglewood Farms Fried Chicken with kale and sausage gratin and red pepper butter; Smoked Pork Shoulder with watermelon, sweet peas, corn, charred pepper aioli; and Sourdough Biscuits with crab fat butter. The restaurant serves a signature Fried Bone-In Pork Chop Stack, which is appropriately speared with a butcher’s knife and accompanied by a stack of white bread and rich, coffee aioli. A thoughtfully curated, seasonal cocktail menu with cheekily named drinks and a selection of beer and wine complete the experience.Isaac Toups’ additional awards and accolades include: a rave review by Associated Press; host of Food Network’s “Kitchen Takeover; ”2019 finalist for James Beard “Best Chef South”; one of Southern Living's Best Cookbooks of 2018; “Best Restaurants in New Orleans” by Thrillist; “100 Best Restaurants in the South” and “Top 10 Best Restaurants” in Southern Living; “Best New Restaurant” by Brett Anderson, New Orleans Times-Picayune; and Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” season 13 contestant and finalist.