|Chef Nathan Gesham at Christina's in downtown Baton Rouge|
On any given Saturday, you're liable to find Chef Nathan Gresham elbows deep in fresh produce at the Red Stick Farmers Market, making the rounds and shaking hands with the local farmers and producers who've become his friends over the last decade.
He doesn't use services like Indie Plate. Gresham, like many chefs, prefers to foster one-on-one relationships with local producers. It's that connection to his ingredients that makes his Beausoleil Restaurant stand out.
The idea for Beausoleil came about in 2010 during Gresham's time as chef de cuisine at Galatoire's. Joining forces with former Galatoire's general manager Jeff Conaway and restauranteur Michael Boudreaux of Juban's, the concept for a Southern, French-style restaurant with Mississippi flair was born.
Gresham said his goal for Beausoleil has been consistent since its opening.
"I wanted to use fresh ingredients, make everything in-house, and evolve it," he said.
And in the four years since the restaurant's opening, he's done exactly that.
According to Gresham, he sources about 60 percent of the ingredients on his menu locally. Along with sourcing directly from the farmers market, Gresham sources from Covey Rise Farms, Iverstine Family Farms, and Two Run Farms in his home state of Mississippi.
Chef Eric Arceneaux makes Beausoleil's bread, and soon he'll be sourcing more from Fullness Organic Farms.
In the mean time, Gresham said, Beausoleil's menu will continue to change constantly. His fresh, locally sourced ingredients inspire him to play around in the kitchen and try out new ideas.
"Baton Rouge can't just be stuck between Lafayette and New Orleans," Gresham said. "If you want Baton Rouge to become this neat place, you've got to support the people around you. Otherwise it's just going to keep being overlooked."
For Gresham, making sure Baton Rouge doesn't get overlooked starts in his own kitchen.
"To me, it's all about relationships and doing what you believe in."
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Indie Plate, Uprooted
Red Stick Farmers Market, Uprooted
Iverstine Family Farms, Uprooted
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Southern Foodways Alliance, Uprooted
Fullness Farms, Uprooted
Louisiana Seafood, Uprooted