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Louisiana Eats: Climbing The Culinary Ladder Of Success

Steve Himelfarb

Many chefs spend their entire careers content to run a single restaurant. But others have a different vision – one that encompasses multiple locations or even various kinds of eateries. This week, we take a look at three such New Orleans restaurateurs and find out how they've gone about building their culinary empires.

We begin with Chef Aaron Burgau, who opened his first restaurant, Patois, in 2007. Since then, he’s opened or acquired four more dining spots – each one completely different than the last. Aaron shares the secrets to his success.

Next, restaurateur Greg Tillery recalls the leap of faith that led him to buy a food truck, where he learned, through trial and error, how to run a business. He explains to us how those efforts led to his We Dat's Chicken and Shrimp, with locations now in three different states – and even a seasoning line.

Finally, we look back at one of New Orleans’ most colorful culinary characters – the late Al Copeland, who founded the Popeyes fried chicken empire. This kitchen-rags-to-chicken-riches story is the subject of the book Secrets of a Tastemaker. Al Copeland, Jr. joins us to discuss his father's life – from his humble beginnings and through its highs and lows.

For more of all things Louisiana Eats, be sure to visit us at

Poppy is the host and executive producer of the weekly show, Louisiana Eats! Food personality, culinary teacher and author, Poppy Tooker is passionate about food and the people who bring it to the table.