“Gumbo started it all,” says New Orleans chef and empire builder Donald Link. As one of the main building blocks of Cajun cuisine, gumbo is a dish that every Louisiana chef must master. Link’s gumbo owes its flavor to the roux—a mix of flour and oil that’s cooked until it’s coffee-colored—along with a lot of hands-on attention. “It’s time-consuming, too,” he says. “It puts me in this mind-set of taking time with food to create something special, as opposed to just knocking out dinner.”
Recipe: Donald Link's Shrimp-and-Crab Gumbo.