October 13, 2015

The Passing of a Princely Chef

My Sixth Sense

One of the incredible benefits of attending as many food trade shows as I have, including more than 35 kosher shows, is the galaxy of interesting people I’ve met. One of those personalities whose perpetual smile, neat Chef’s outfit, and demeanor remains transfixed in my mind was the late Chef Paul Prudhomme who passed away last week at the age of 75. Although wheelchair bound, his presence always evoked rock star notoriety. He felt as comfortable representing Magic Seasoning at a kosher show as he did at any other food show. I recall discussing the kosher food industry with him and he seemed as knowledgeable about kosher as anyone in the industry. As an American celebrity chef whose specialties were Creole and Cajun cuisines, he was credited with popularizing the cuisines, as well. He was proud of the fact that he could expand his products into the kosher market. In the booth, he was busy making some of his kosher dishes and conversing with the many who came by, some even for an autograph.

Chef Prudhomme knew that his Star-K kosher certified line of sauces, marinades, and seasonings was in the early 2000’s revolutionary for the kosher market. His Magic Seasoning line of products were noticeably at the cutting edge of the new upscale foods that had appeared at the show and it was noticed by the media covering the show. He fully appreciated the value of making many of his products kosher and in fact even recorded a testimonial about kosher certification for the Star-K. He had great respect for the rabbis who certified his products, he once told me, and he even knew a great deal about objectionable ingredients. When I look back at some of the figures who played a major role in revolutionizing the kosher market, the late Chef Paul Prudhomme will be on the list. He will be sorely missed.