After a shift what is your favorite guilty pleasure to eat? “It’s a toss-up between leftover fried rice or a grilled ham and cheese.”
Is there one dish you won’t cook? “Fried chicken! Too many great places to get it in New Orleans.”
All-time favorite spice. “Right now, I’m loving smoked chimayo chile powder. It’s great where you would use cayenne or paprika.”
Did you grow up cooking? “My mom and grandparents did all the cooking growing up. I peeled the shrimp, shelled the peas and washed all the dishes.”
What cookbook is your go-to resource for inspiration? “Larousse Gastronomy has always been my go-to. My copy is bound together with duct tape at this point.”
What chef dead or alive would you like to cook with? “Fernand Point, if he was still with us.”
After all these years working in restaurants, how much do you still enjoy going out to eat? “I do, but it does get more difficult. I enjoy the act of dining out and being with friends. It’s also exciting to be surprised with an amazing experience, but it is few and far between sometimes. I have my old favorites that I tend to stick to that I know will be on point.”
Name the all-time best cooking show. “All of Bourdain’s shows. There will never be another.”
What is the one tool that you always need but can’t ever seem to find in your kitchen? “If it existed, I would have it.”
What is the best food city in the world? “I would, of course, have to say New Orleans. But for traveling, I would go with San Sebastian, Spain.”
Donald Link runs several legendary New Orleans restaurants including Herbsaint, Cochon and Pêche. His latest establishment is Chemin à la Mer inside the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences New Orleans.
Interview has been condensed and edited.