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New Orleans style

September/October 2019 California Bountiful magazine

Chef brings a taste of the Big Easy to SoCal




Chef Quinnton Austin is culinary director of four San Diego restaurants, including Louisiana Purchase. Photo: © 2019 Walter Wilson

Until recently, chef Quinnton Austin had spent his entire career in his childhood home of New Orleans. But don't think his roots to home limited his culinary horizons. Just the opposite.

"When it comes to different types of cuisines, I did everything," Austin said, rattling off examples ranging from Asian and American to Creole and Cajun, and from mom-and-pop eateries to corporate food service. "My goal was to keep multiple jobs and each job be something different, so I can have a well-rounded grasp of different cultures and different types of foods and how to make different things. I never wanted to be limited to just one thing."

Last fall, Austin added another entry to his well-seasoned resume: culinary director of Grind & Prosper Hospitality. The partners of the San Diego-based restaurant group signed him on the spot after tasting his alligator andouille cheesecake and other signature dishes. By March, Austin had opened the group's fourth food and beverage concept: Louisiana Purchase, a New Orleans-influenced cocktail restaurant.

"California is a food paradise, and I wanted to be a part of that," he said. "In Louisiana, it's more flavors. It's seasonings, it's portions, it's stuff like that. California is more like technique and art. So I wanted to come up with a way to blend all that together."

Variety—and opportunity—are certainly the spice of this man's life.

"What's important to me is growth, right? I've always been the type that I want to touch everybody, every community," said Austin, who mentored youth and at-risk individuals in New Orleans. "Just letting people know that there's multiple ways to be successful—that's motivation to people and it's making sure you're able to give people opportunities. That's what's important."

Barbara Arciero

Recipes

Pork and watermelon

Sriracha lime butter crab fingers

Cajun ribeye

Oxtail tacos

Ooey gooey cake


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