Paul Prudhomme (born July 13, 1940), also known as Gene Autry Prudhomme, is an American celebrity chef whose specialty is Creole cuisine, and has been credited with popularising the cuisine. He is the chef proprietor of K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen in New Orleans, and has previously owned and run several other restaurants. He has developed several culinary products, including hot sauce and seasoning mixes, and has written a number of cookbooks.
The youngest of 13 children, Prudhomme was raised on a farm near Opelousas, the seat of St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. His father Eli Prudhomme Jr., was a farmer, but the family struggled to make ends meet during Prudhomme's childhood. Prudhomme was named Paul on his birth certificate as a priest thought he should have the same name as a saint, but he instead went by the name Gene Autry Prudhomme during his youth.
He opened his first restaurant in Opelousas in 1957, a hamburger restaurant called Big Daddy O's Patio. The restaurant went out of business in nine months, which also saw the end of his first marriage. He became a magazine seller initially in New Orleans, and afterwards a number of restaurant jobs took him around the country. During this period he began creating his own spice mixes, and gave them away to customers. In 1970 he moved back to New Orleans to work as a sous chef at the Le Pavilion Hotel. He left after a short while to open Clarence Dupuy's restaurant Maison du Puy. While there, he met his second wife, Kay Hinrichs, who worked at the restaurant as a waitress. In 1975, Prudhomme left to become executive chef at the restaurant Commander's Palace under Richard Brennan, Sr. Chef Paul turned the unsuccessful Garden District restaurant into a world-class destination for food...
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