Four-time finalist for James Beard “Best Chef: South” and author of The New York Times’ “Best Cookbooks of Fall,” Chasing the Gator – Isaac Toups & the New Cajun Cooking (Little, Brown and Company), Chef Isaac Toups exemplifies the new guard of Cajun chefs and is Chef/Owner of Toups Meatery in New Orleans. Born and raised in Rayne, Louisiana – the heart of Cajun country – Isaac is known for his “born and braised” culinary style. His unique combination of childhood roots, heavily influenced by both grandmothers, along with honing his skills in some of New Orleans’ most acclaimed restaurants – including a decade of fine dining experience in Emeril Lagasse’s New Orleans kitchens – gives Chef Isaac Toups a cutting-edge that is unrivaled.
Isaac’s savvy culinary skills and charismatic personality has landed him multiple on-screen appearances including competing on Bravo TV’s “Top Chef” season 13, where the finalist won over viewers and took home the title of “Fan Favorite.” In 2019, Food Network launched Chef Toups his very own series “Kitchen Takeover,” where he traveled across the country to help failing restaurants and food businesses. In addition, he has appeared as a judge on Bravo TV’s “Top Chef Amateurs” and Food Network’s Family Food Showdown” hosted by Valerie Bertinelli. Isaac is a frequent guest of the “TODAY” show and VICE TV’s Munchies, and has been tapped as the face of Visit New Orleans – New Orleans Board of Tourism’s international televised advertising campaign.
Isaac’s passion extends beyond the kitchen, and he is deeply embedded in the New Orleans community and feels a tremendous sense of responsibility to give back, especially to the most vulnerable. During the restaurant industry’s biggest crisis from the pandemic, Isaac and his wife Amanda provided free meals to thousands of displaced hospitality workers, families in need and local hospitals as soon as the coronavirus pandemic hit New Orleans. Isaac works to raise dollars and awareness for The Leona Tate Foundation for Change (LTFC) and the Tate, Etienne & Prevost (TEP) Interpretive Center, whose mission is to educate others on the history of school desegregation and its role in the broader Civil Rights Movement in New Orleans. He is a Chef advocate for Restore the Mississippi River Delta Campaign (MRD); has worked closely with Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen during the pandemic and subsequent hurricanes; and raises funds annually during Breast Cancer Awareness month, donating proceeds to the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, earmarked to help women in the hospitality industry battling the disease.
James Beard Awards “Best Chef: South” Finalist: 2022, 2020, 2019, 2016
The New York Times’ “Best Cookbooks of Fall 2018”
Southern Living’s “Best Cookbooks of 2018”
New Orleans Times-Picayune “Best New Restaurant”
Southern Living “100 Best Restaurants in the South” and “Top 10 Best Restaurants”
Thrillist “Best Restaurants in New Orleans”
Avenue Magazine “Activist of the Year 2022”
2022 Calvin Johnson Food Justice Advocate Award
SAMPLE TV CLIPS