An accomplished chef, teacher, and school administrator, Jude Theriot successfully blended two seemingly incongruous careers for thirty-seven years. If you ask him, he'll tell you he just followed his passions and did what came naturally. His love for teaching, his skill for managing, and his talent for cooking all combined to produce an extraordinarily rewarding livelihood.
Needing to bolster his schoolteacher salary early in his career, he took a part-time kitchen job.
Theriot's choice for moonlighting work landed him in familiar territory. Under
the tutelage of his Cajun grandmother, he had begun absorbing cooking
fundamentals as a young boy of six. Through the years, he's learned to be
creative, using ingredients that are fresh and available while adding just the right amount of spices and seasonings to draw out the natural flavors.
Advancement in his two careers
demanded extended formal education and training. Theriot received professional training in traditional French cuisine and served as executive chef at Le Champignon and Gatsby's Top of the Lake, both in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and at the Old Vienna Restaurant in Austin, Texas. A certified culinary professional, Theriot is an active member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. In 1999 he served as executive chair of the IACP Foundation—a
philanthropic arm of the association—a high honor considering Julia Child was the honorary chair that year. He has won numerous cooking awards at the local,
regional, and national levels.
Theriot also earned his master of
education degree and educational specialist degree in psychology and guidance. Those degrees, combined with postgraduate work in administration and supervision, strengthened his ascent to the office of superintendent of Calcasieu Parish schools, where he was recognized as top superintendent of schools in Louisiana. Having recently retired from that post, Theriot is proud to point out that although he pursued both careers simultaneously, he never shortchanged either one, allotting both careers his full attention.
Chef Theriot's seven Cajun
cookbooks preserve and expand upon what he describes as the essentials of south Louisiana cooking while still remaining health conscious. He also practices what he preaches, having lost more than one hundred pounds eating the recipes he developed for his Cajun Low-Carb cookbook. Chef Theriot travels
extensively to promote Cajun cuisine and healthy eating by giving demonstrations and lectures and conducting classes. You can book an appearance by Chef Theriot by calling the sales department at Pelican Publishing. He lives in Lake Charles,
Louisiana, with his family.