By Matt Starlight and Brad Jones
As the food scene of Baton Rouge changes, so do the faces of those that represent and create it. DIG sought the help of BR Food Guru and Food Network personality Jay Ducote to find out who the rising stars in Red Stick cooking are, and here is the top five out of those many chefs.
Private chef Aimee Tortorich aims to mix up the cuisine in Baton Rouge. Chef Tortorich is currently a private chef at a local LSU sorority Zeta Tau Alpha, but she also hosts private parties and events.
Talking about her cuisine, Tortorich describes it as “adventurous” and “not afraid to color outside of the lines.” Tortorich recently served up a fusion tamale with braised curry pork, which sounds perfect for a big party.
She is enthusiastic about the Baton Rouge farm to table movement, with more local food sources coming to Baton Rouge every week. Tortorich aims to “help support local businesses and farmers” with her cooking. Chef Tortorich is a Louisiana Culinary Institute graduate and has worked with local Food Network personality and blogger Jay Ducote.
Facebook: Ross Ford
After getting his culinary degree in Austin, Texas, Ross Ford has travelled and worked all over the Southern USA. Now, he’s one of two co-chefs at Stroubes Seafood and Steaks after having worked his way up from just a part-time line cook.
“We like to try to play off of some classic preparations, techniques and dishes. Twist what we can with local Louisiana ingredients and fuse the old and the new and be something contemporary, new and interesting, but still plays off where we came from,” he said.
Ford is using his classic approach to open this city up to a new, sophisticated dining experience that he believes the city could use. “I think the more sophisticated Baton Rouge diner’s get, the more they want to try to do new, interesting things and push that envelope,” he said. Be on the lookout at Stroubes for an elegant dining with a unique spin from Ross Ford.
Facebook: Kaila Mogg-Stone
Chef Kaila Mogg-Stone is currently the chef at Magpie’s Cafe on Perkins. Before she began working at Magpie’s, Mogg-Stone was a cook at Bistro Byronz.
The menu at Magpie’s can be described as fresh, seasonal, and perfect for the healthy eater. At Magpie’s, you can find freshly pressed juices, pastries, and a multitude of fresh lunch options. Mogg-Stone describes her cuisine as “simple, fresh, and elegant.” Mogg-Stone says she aims for “ food done well, instead of going for the awe factor.”
Magpie’s and Mogg-Stone partner with Indie Plate to get organic and local ingredients for their menu items. Whenever possible, Mogg-Stone attempts to source her ingredients from local farms and producers. Mogg-Stone is excited for the Baton Rouge food scene being more “open minded and exploring new flavor profiles.”
At Magpie’s Cafe, Mogg-Stone aims to do more than just make great food, as she states, “food is for people to come together.” Magpie’s is open Monday-Saturday for breakfast, lunch, and dinners off Perkins Road.
Relatively new to the Baton Rouge food scene, chef Traci Vincent is making a name for herself by creating delicious food and educating others on great cuisine and using fresh ingredients. Vincent wants to “cook food like your eighty year-old grandmother would make it.”
Vincent, currently the morning chef at Zeta Tau Alpha and private caterer is excited about teaching others in Baton Rouge about how create food that doesn’t come out of a can. She believes that Baton Rouge is becoming “hip to what’s trending in food” and “people being excited about real food again.”
Vincent has also been working as a food literacy educator for the past year, educating communities on using fresh ingredients in their cuisine. Recently, Vincent has been working with the culinary club at White Hills Elementary in Baker. Vincent will be cooking red beans and rice at the Roux House on October 12th, which will be her fourth time doing the Red Beans and Rice Event there.
Facebook: Eusebio Gongora II
Planting his roots in the Baton Rouge culinary scene, Eusebio Gongora has made his rounds through restaurants all over town and spent five years as the executive chef at Fleming’s Steakhouse where his creative mind was allowed to flourish as he created items for a feature-filled menu.
Now, he’s the Corporate Chef in charge of Culinary Operations for the two existing and third upcoming City Pork locations, ensuring each one is firing on all cylinders.
“We’ll be able to do seasonal stuff, as well as some handmade, true charcuterie. That’s making our own everything from scratch. Getting in whole animals, using it from the nose to the tail, and making some fun stuff. We’re excited,” he said.
As a top dog of one of Baton Rouge’s most exciting new restaurants, Eusebio is bound to bring a new, exciting culinary movement to the Capital City.