Inspired by the Cajun and Southern cooking of his grandparents, Louisiana native Chef Donald Link began his professional cooking career at 15 years old. Chef Link has peppered the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans with a collection of award-winning restaurants over the course of the past two decades. Herbsaint a contemporary take on the French-American “bistro” is the flagship of the Link Restaurant Group. Cochon, opened with chef-partner Stephen Stryjewski, is where Link offers true Cajun and Southern cooking featuring the foods and cooking techniques he grew up preparing and eating. Cochon Butcher is a tribute to Old World butcher and charcuterie shops honoring the traditions of housemade meats and sausages serving specialty sandwiches, a bar menu, wine and creative cocktails. Calcasieu is Chef Link’s private event facility that takes its name from one of the parishes in the Acadiana region of southwest Louisiana. Pêche Seafood Grill serves simply prepared coastal seafood with a unique, modern approach to old world cooking methods featuring rustic dishes prepared on an open hearth over hardwood coals. Enjoy handcrafted pastries and breads at La Boulangerie a neighborhood bakery and café. The latest addition to the family Gianna offers rustic Italian cuisine rooted in Louisiana tradition and technique.
Herbsaint earned him a James Beard award in 2007 for Best Chef South. The same year Cochon was nominated for Best New Restaurant; Link was also nominated by the James Beard Foundation for the prestigious award of Outstanding Chef for multiple years. Pêche Seafood Grill was awarded Best New Restaurant at the 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards. Gourmet Magazine listed Herbsaint as one of the top 50 restaurants in America, and was inducted into the Nations Restaurant News Hall of Fame. Cochon was listed in The New York Times as “one of the top 3 restaurants that count” and named one of the 20 most important restaurants in America by Bon Appétit. For his commitment to the industry, the Louisiana Restaurant Association honored Link by naming him Restaurateur of the Year in 2012.
The James Beard Foundation also honored Link’s first cookbook—Real Cajun: Rustic Home Cooking from Donald Link’s Louisiana (Clarkson Potter) with their top award for Best American Cookbook. Released in 2009. Real Cajun is a collection of family recipes that Link has honed and perfected while honoring the authenticity of the Cajun people. In February 2014, Link celebrated the release of his second cookbook Down South: Bourbon, Pork, Gulf Shrimp & Second Helpings of Everything (Clarkson-Potter), which looks beyond New Orleans and Louisiana at dishes in nearby states.
In 2015, Chefs Link and Stryjewski created the Link Stryjewski Foundation to address the persistent cycle of violence and poverty, as well as the lack of quality education and job training opportunities available to young people in New Orleans.