NEW ORLEANS » Paul Prudhomme, the Cajun who popularized spicy Louisiana cuisine and became one of the first American restaurant chefs to achieve worldwide fame, died today. He was 75.
Tiffanie Roppolo, the CFO of Prudhomme’s businesses, told The Associated Press that he died early Thursday after a brief illness.
Prudhomme became prominent in the early 1980s, soon after opening K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, a French Quarter diner that served the meals of his childhood.
He had no formal training, but sparked a nationwide interest in Cajun food by serving dishes — gumbo, etouffee and jambalaya — that were virtually unknown outside Louisiana.
The distinctly American chef became a sensation at a time when the country’s top restaurants served virtually nothing but European food.