Roy F. Guste, Jr. can't remember when he wasn't interested in
cooking. In 1969 on his eighteenth birthday, he got a chance to work for the
famous New Orleans restaurant Antoine's, owned by members of his family, and he
has been involved with food ever since.
He first studied architecture at Louisiana State University,
transferring to Tulane University in 1971. He knew that he didn't want to be a
lawyer like his father, and architectural design seemed like a career in which
one could be creative. However, he soon realized that architecture did not allow
the freedom he desired. He decided to make cooking his career.
He moved to Paris to study French cuisine at le Cordon Bleu Ecole
de Cuisine and language at l'Alliance Francaise, then moved on to Grenoble,
France, to continue his studies in language and French culture at l'Universite
de Grenoble and l'Institute de Phonetique.
Guste spent the summer of 1972 working in Tours, France, in the
kitchen of Charles Barrier's Restaurant, a top-rated Michelin restaurant. In
1973 he studied at le Cordon Bleu Ecole de Cuisine in Paris, on the Riviera, and
in Provence to learn French cuisine and its similarities to, and influences on,
New Orleans cuisine. Also during that year he attended Loyola University in New
Orleans to major in French language.
For the next ten years, Guste would travel extensively around the
world to teach New Orleans cuisine to chefs and gourmet societies, among them
the Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts Society of Panama. In 1987 he was the subject of a
cooking video in which he prepared New Orleans favorites assisted by Merle
Ellis, “The Butcher” of syndicated TV fame.
Having moved from cashier, to captain, to cook, to assistant
manager, and then to director, Guste finally left Antoine's Restaurant in 1984
to pursue a more creative career in new restaurant development, food and
restaurant consulting, and food and culinary history writing.
Guste began to have his books published, beginning with The
Antoine's Restaurant Cookbook, in 1979. He has been involved with the
development and management of four restaurants. The little boy who remembers
being “shooed out of the kitchen” now has people all over the world begging him
to come back in. Nancy Madison, the family's Creole cook who was such a major
influence on his cooking, would be proud.