I recently had the opportunity to visit the offices of Tony Chachere’s® Famous Creole Cuisine. I walked in the front door and was immediately greeted with that famous Cajun hospitality. Within seconds, I felt as though I was part of the Tony’s family. As I toured the plant where they were packaging Tony’s Original Creole Seasoning, I took a deep breath and was immediately consumed by the intoxicating aromas of pepper, chili powder, garlic, and an array of other secret spices. It’s safe to say that I became a Tony Chachere’s fan right then and there.
Tony Chachere’s Famous Creole Cuisine began nearly 50 years ago as a retirement hobby and a life-long dream come true for the company’s namesake, Tony Chachere. Mr. Tony was a noted sportsman, chef and bon vivant of Opelousas, Louisiana. Known as the “Ole Master” of fine Creole cuisine, Mr. Tony lived to cook. As he made his unsurpassed culinary delicacies for friends and family, he’d exclaim “tonight, I’m gonna make’em cry,” and always dreamed of one day writing a cookbook full of recipes of his beloved native cuisine.
In 1972, after Mr. Tony retired for a second time, the 65-year-old did just that – writing and publishing his now infamous Cajun Country Cookbook. He sold the first 10,000 copies out of the back of his station wagon within weeks. Among the many recipes in the book was that of his favorite homemade seasoning, and Gulf Coast residents began asking where they could buy his trademark blend. Before he knew it, Tony Chachere’s Famous Creole Cuisine was born.
The now nationally recognized brand is still family-owned-and-operated, led by multiple generations of the Chachere family. With Tony’s grandson Don at the helm, the company has reached new heights. It is still operated in Opelousas, Louisiana, but now in a 150,000 square-foot facility with more than 100 full-time employees.
“It has been such a privilege to watch the company expand, first locally, then regionally and nationally,” Don Chachere, CEO of Tony Chachere’s, said. “Today, our products are available nationwide thanks to the support of our loyal customers. Not only do our products bring flavor to all kinds of dishes, but we take great pride in keeping close to our traditional roots and have become synonymous with the flavor of Louisiana.”
Mr. Tony semi-retired (again) in 1981, at the age of 76, though he continued to develop new products and perfect his recipes. It’s a tradition that continues today, as Tony Chachere’s staff members experiment with new ideas.
“When you walk past our test kitchen, you can always smell something delicious cooking behind that door,” said Jude Tauzin, Corporate Chef for Tony Chachere’s. “I remember cooking with Mr. Tony. Those were special years, and he still influences me in the kitchen every day.”
Almost 50 years later, the Chachere family maintains a tradition of Creole authenticity in every recipe and product. Those products include seasonings, marinades, dinner mixes, salad dressings, fish fry mixes, Bloody Mary mix, and much more. Each guaranteed to add a little spice and a lot of flavor to your meals.
“We see it every day on social media, people in kitchens across the country are finding that little green can of Tony’s brings flavor to everything they make,” said Celeste Chachere, Director of Marketing & Public Relations for Tony Chachere’s. “It’s surreal to remember that this all started with one man, my great grandfather, in south Louisiana.”
Tony’s famous seasoning has been used in dozens of cookbooks, cooking contests and even a couple of movies. In March 1995, Mr. Tony was honored as the first inductee into the Louisiana Chefs Hall of Fame. He passed away one week later; three months shy of his 90th birthday. Tony Chachere lived a legendary life and will always be remembered as a man who was “at home” with everyone who knew him.