Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Chef Frank Brigtsen inducted into the LRA Hall of Fame

Chef Frank Brigtsen is inducted into
the LRA's Hall of Fame, Aug. 11 at
the Five Star Futures Gala.
Photo by: Allyson O'Keefe
In the restaurant and hospitality industry, encountering genuinely kind chefs, owners and staff is really rather common. After all, we are in the business to entertain, accommodate and serve. However, when the decision came to determine which individual was to be inducted in the Louisiana Restaurant Association’s Hall of Fame this year, one man stood above the rest—Frank Brigtsen.

“His commitment to our industry and his focus on using local seafood and other ingredients separates his restaurants from many others,” said Melvin Rodrigue, 2012 LRA Chairman. “He gives of his time to the next generation of chefs and managers, even employing Louisiana ProStart graduates in his kitchens.”

A James Beard award-winning chef, Brigtsen was honored at the Five Star Future’s Gala at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, August 12, in front of 400 industry leaders, restaurateurs, chefs, managers and the 2012 class of scholarship recipients.
An individual with a heart of gold and a passion for serving his guests, Brigtsen is a tribute to hard work and creativity. Along with his wife Marna, they own Brigtsen’s Restaurant and Charlie’s Seafood where the menu changes each day.

Brigtsen’s acceptance speech was moving and sincere. In it he said, “Every time I put on my chef coat, I’m putting on 250 years of Louisiana’s proud culinary traditions and legacy. It’s my job to give back and that’s why I cook, serve and teach. I’m particularly proud that one of my students is a recipient of a general hospitality scholarship from the LRA Education Foundation.”

He shared his story of how he entered the restaurant industry during his speech.

“I was broke with no job, living at home with my mom,” he said. “I was looking through the classifieds and saw a Commander’s Palace ad looking for Creole cooks or individuals willing to be trained in the Creole traditions.”

Brigtsen apprenticed at Commander’s Palace under the guidance of Chef Paul Prudhomme. In 1980, he became the first Night Chef at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen when the restaurant began dinner service and during his seven year tenure was promoted to Executive Chef. Paul and his late wife were instrumental in helping the Brigtsen’s open their restaurant in 1986.

In 1988, Food & Wine magazine named him, “One of America’s Top 10 New Chefs,” and New Orleans magazine named him the Chef of the Year in 1994. In 1998, Brigtsen received the James Beard Award of “American Express Best Chef: Southeast.  

Past inductees into the LRA’s Hall of Fame include: Al Copeland Sr., Archie Casbarian, Ralph Brennan, Dickie Brennan, Ella Brennan and Charles Goodson.


  1. A well-deserved honor for such a wonderful chef and person.