MEET CHEF RENEE WILLIAMS!
This week I was able to meet another awesome chef!
Ahh, the perks of working with a restaurant.
We met up at the soon-to-be-opened Bayou Roux. When I arrived they were just wrapping up a meeting with their meats provider, and it was fascinating hearing him talk about how they treat their livestock - with such care and attention to keeping them happy and stress free. I don't know if you've read any studies on this - but distress and fear changes the taste of meat - in a negative way. So no worries guys - you will be getting that good stress free meat! (here is a great article about this topic. Don't worry its an easy read. Motherboard Article )
This meet-up was a little bit different for me. As most of you know, I started doing Meet Monroe features as a way for me to meet my new community when first moving here. So most of the people I have met have been from here. THIS time it was nice to chat with someone else who is new to the community. I've been here two years now, Renee has been here for only a week! (So if you see her out and about give her a 'Hey, Renee!' to help her feel welcomed!)
Renee was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. After meeting Logan when they were both working The Masters - she moved here to Monroe, Louisiana to fulfill her need to create new and exciting things in the culinary world. Indiana wasn't providing these opportunities for her, the community there seems to be satisfied with the already established chain restaurants. It makes me think back to my conversation with Logan about our expanded southern palettes!
When I asked Renee where HER drive for propelling herself into this culinary world comes from, when her hometown wasn't somewhere that put as much value in this arena - she told me that it all started at a young age, cooking with her mom and her grandmother. This is very similar to what we heard from Logan! I've always echoed the quote "Give me a boy at seven, and I'll give you the man". These two are definitely proving this idea to be true! This introduction by her family into how her delicious favorite foods were created, was further fueled by a modern-era invention; The Food Network! Another note to take is that she is 50% Syrian, so culturally food was important within her family and was what brought her family together to spend time. This again touches back to that earlier conversation about our expanded southern palettes - we are so influenced by our multi-cultural roots in this state, its the same within Renees family! She learned that food brings people together and that brought her to fall in love with making it. When her family would go out to eat it would be such a treat. She delights in bringing that togetherness and excitement out of other people with something as simple as good food. But she has a natural competitive streak - she needed to put her own twists on things! The Motto she always sticks to is "simply elegant" simple, fresh, and local food - with an elegant touch. Her personal motto really mixed well with Logans ideas for Bayou Roux - so she has come to create for you guys!!
Renee is going to be working with Logan in the Bayou Roux kitchen to create some quality dishes. She is also going to be the Bar Manager. Her major was beverage management, she has her wine certification and has brewed her own beer. We were talking about the drinks menu (which is extensive and AWESOME!), and she really lit up at this part of the conversation. I could tell that she finds this aspect of working with Bayou Roux to be fun and fulfilling. She explained to me that she is so excited to open the restaurant - so that she can start taking basic drink recipes, the classics that everyone knows, and expand them into something that is personal and unique to the Bayou Roux.