Frank Brigtsen is at the forefront of a new generation of New Orleans chefs who are revitalizing Creole/Acadian cooking. Co-owner of Brigtsen's Restaurant with his wife, Marna, Frank has applied an inventive personal touch to seven years of training in classic Louisiana cooking under internationally acclaimed Chef Paul Prudhomme. Patrons praise his ability to ingeniously incorporate local ingredients into his unique menu, which changes daily.
Frank utilizes his native New Orleans palate to create dishes that pay tribute to the traditions of Louisiana cuisine. Gene Bourg, writing as a restaurant critic for The Times-Picayune, described Frank's interpretation of Creole/Acadian food as a "reaffirmation that Louisiana cooking is America's most durable and satisfying. Brigtsen's is now the place against which all other restaurants serving South Louisiana cuisine have to be measured."
The reception he has received in the culinary community confirms Bourg's assessment. In 1988, Food & Wine named Frank "ONE OF AMERICA'S TOP TEN NEW CHEFS." In 1994, Frank was chosen "CHEF OF THE YEAR" in New Orleans magazine's annual poll of local chefs and restaurateurs. He also received the James Beard Award for "AMERICAN EXPRESS BEST CHEF: SOUTHEAST" in 1998.
Critics have been equally quick to heap praise on Brigtsen's Restaurant. Gene Bourg, writing as a restaurant critic for The Times-Picayune, gave Brigtsen's a "Five-Bean" (Superior) rating in both of his reviews. New Orleans restaurant critic Tom Fitzmorris rates Brigtsen's 94/100. Restaurant diners voted Brigtsen's "TOP CAJUN RESTAURANT" in the 2000 Zagat survey.
Frank began his culinary career in 1973 while attending Louisiana State University. In 1979, he apprenticed at Commander's Palace Restaurant under the guidance of Chef Paul Prudhomme. In 1980, Frank became the first Night Chef at K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen when the restaurant began dinner service. During his seven-year tenure with Chef Prudhomme at K-Paul's, Frank attained the position of Executive Chef. Chef Paul and his wife K Prudhomme were instrumental in helping Frank and Marna open Brigtsen's in 1986. Frank supports numerous charitable endeavors, including the Second Harvest food bank and the Emeril Lagasse Foundation.
Chef Brigtsen is a strong believer in culinary education and shares his passion for Creole and Acadian cuisine through his roles as Adjunct Professor at The John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University and Chef-in-Residence at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA). He is a member of the American Culinary Federation.