In the Kitchen with the Feted Chef Behind New Orleans's Hottest Cajun Joint
The day after Stephen Stryjewski was named Best Chef of the South at the James Beard Awards, NOWNESS stopped by his New Orleans temple to boudin, Cochon, for an up-close look at the restaurant's soppressata, andouille sausages and muffaletta. Opened in 2006, the now-cult eatery emerged in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and marked the second venture for Stryjewski’s business partner Donald Link, whose bistro Herbsaint is known for its southern inflected take on French dishes. “There was a lack of good Cajun restaurants in the city when we decided to open Cochon,” explains Stryjewski, who settled in the city 15 years ago. “I moved to New Orleans for the same reason everyone else does: good atmosphere, good food, and to have a good time,” he adds. Pairing a modern rustic interior with an upmarket take on Acadiana classics including fried alligator, the restaurant has won the hearts of spoiled-for-choice locals, and received a 2010 “dish of the year” nod from The New York Times for their oyster and bacon sandwich. In 2009, Stryjewski and Link opened Butcher, a neighboring shop which offers takeaway sandwiches, charcuterie platters and a carefully curated wine list, while this September sees the launch of Cochon’s second outpost in Lafayette.