Mobile Menu Icon
Downtown Header

Experience Ruston Blog

Desi Bourgeois Recognized as a Louisiana Chef to Watch

October 18, 2023Written by: Tori Davis

Desi Bourgeois, owner of Grown & Grazed and the Heard Freighthouse Food Park in downtown Ruston, has been named a 2023 Chef to Watch by Louisiana Cookin’ Magazine. He was presented the award at the Chefs to Watch Dinner on Thursday, October 12 at the Southern Hotel in Covington, La. 

chef-desi-bourgeois.jpg

Louisiana Cookin’ introduced Chefs to Watch in 2002 as a way of recognizing talented up-and-coming chefs from restaurants around the state who show passion for traditions while delivering fresh, new concepts. The annual roster features talented individuals from diverse backgrounds who are leaving a mark on their communities. Bourgeois is the first chef to represent Ruston & Lincoln Parish since the recognition was created 22 years ago. He is one of six Louisiana chefs to be awarded the distinction this year. 

“Being chosen as a Chef to Watch validates what we’re doing here at Grown & Grazed, and the concept of the Heard Freighthouse as a whole,” said Bourgeois. “We sent a message about the quality of food we can sustain with this model and the message is getting through. Now it’s put us in a group of people who are in the top of their game throughout the state.”

All six chefs featured a signature dish during the Chefs to Watch Dinner hosted by Louisiana Cookin’ on October 12 at the Southern Hotel in Covington, La. Bourgeois served chicken confit over dirty rice topped with a crispy chicken skin and parsley oil with a side of sweet potato hash. True to his approach of using locally sourced ingredients, the dish featured chicken from Mahaffey Farms and popcorn rice from Baker Farms.

chicken-confit-over-dirty-rice-by-desi-bourgeois.jpg

“I had so many people come up to me and say, ‘your dish tasted just like my grandmother’s Thanksgiving dinner,’” said Bourgeois. “I approached it as a special occasion dish. It isn’t something that is served on our everyday menu at the food truck, but it tells the story of who I am as a chef. I like taking familiar flavors and reworking them into new things, like our sweet potato hash with bourbon glaze – it’s our version of candied yams. And it resonated with people because it’s reminiscent of the holidays, which are the ultimate special occasion.”

Bourgeois was able to share the evening with friends and family who attended the event. An element that made the dinner even more special was getting to work alongside a childhood friend who served as his sous chef. Caine Thomassie and Bourgeois grew up together in Galliano, La. and followed similar culinary career paths. Bourgeois invited Thomassie to attend the event, but Thomassie insisted on rolling up his sleeves and helping him in the kitchen.

caine-thomassie-and-desi-bourgeois.jpg

“Having Caine there as my sous was so nice. I knew I could trust him with the dish because it’s how we grew up making it,” said Bourgeois.  “It only took us 25 years, but we managed to finally get in the kitchen together.

In reflecting back on the evening, Bourgeois was grateful for the experience and the connections made throughout the event.

“The event was unbelievable. I got to work with some really good chefs who are doing amazing work in their own respects,” said Bourgeois. “There was great camaraderie from everyone. We all pitched in together, helped plate each other’s dishes, and got 120 plates out in 15 minutes every course. It was super fun!”

Experience Ruston served as a sponsor of the Chefs the Watch Dinner and attended the event to support Bourgeois and his continued commitment to developing Ruston as a culinary destination.

“We’re so proud of Desi and the incredible work he is doing for our local culinary scene,” said Amanda Carrier, President & CEO of Experience Ruston. “He is more than deserving of this recognition and we look forward to seeing how his talent, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit continue to transform our community one meal at a time.”

To taste Chef Desi’s culinary creations for yourself, visit his food truck, Grown and Grazed, located in the Heard Freighthouse Food Park in downtown Ruston. More information about the food park can be found at heardfreighthousefoodpark.com.





About the Author

Tori Davis Image
Tori Davis

Tori is a Shreveport native who planted roots in the piney hills of Lincoln Parish in 2017. She has a passion for destination development and marketing and aims to spend every bit of her free time making memories with her husband and two daughters. As Director of Marketing and Communications, Tori supports the President/CEO of Experience Ruston in implementing new marketing plans and content strategies to help promote Ruston/Lincoln Parish as a premier tourist destination. 
 
 

Tags: Brag Board  |  Eat Local  |  Press

More Blog Posts

2024

Guide to the 74th Annual Louisiana Peach Festival (5/24/24)5 Must-dos for the 74th Louisiana Peach Festival (5/7/24)Ultimate Sports Traveler Guide to Ruston, LA (4/26/24)Ruston, LA Named One of the Best Historic Small Towns in America (4/10/24)Spring in Lincoln Parish: 5 Must-Do Activities (4/9/24)Discover Everything Great About the 318 (3/15/24)Strong Year Reported for Tourism in Lincoln Parish (3/12/24)How to Celebrate 318 Day in Ruston, La (3/5/24)Celebrating Black History Month (2/20/24)74th Annual Louisiana Peach Festival to Feature Free Admission (2/15/24)Ruston's Top Pizza Picks: 4 Must-Try Spots (2/7/24)Lincoln Parish Sesquicentennial Committee Wins Hospitality Award (1/25/24)Exploring the Latest in Ruston: Your Guide to What's New (1/18/24)Discovering Mardi Gras Flavors in Ruston-Lincoln Parish (1/11/24)

2023

8 Unforgettable Holiday Events in Lincoln Parish (11/12/23)Desi Bourgeois Brings a Taste of Ruston to Dallas (10/25/23)Fall Events and Activities: Your Guide to Ruston's Seasonal Delights! (10/2/23)The Ultimate Guide to Loyal Blue Weekends (10/1/23)Ruston’s Bad Wolf BBQ Receives Two Awards at Louisiana Food and Wine Festival (9/21/23)Ruston's Best Interstate Eats (9/6/23)LA Tech Game Day Guide 2023 (8/17/23)Experience Ruston Hires Director of Marketing & Communications (8/7/23)23 Things to Love About Lincoln Parish (7/13/23)Beat the Heat in Ruston-Lincoln Parish (6/26/23)Cold Treats (6/15/23)35 Things to Do in Ruston Before You Graduate (6/13/23)2023 Peach Restaurant Roundup (5/25/23)Ruston, LA to Host 2023 DYB World Series (2/13/23)Love in Lincoln Parish: Top Romantic Spots for Valentine's Day (2/7/23)Local Mardi Gras Food and Flavors (1/26/23)City of Ruston Announces Buc-ee's is Coming to Ruston, LA (1/13/23)New Year's Resolutions in Lincoln Parish (1/5/23)

2022

Ruston Coffee Trail (11/21/22)Shop Small for the Holidays (11/15/22)5 Fun Kids Activities in Ruston (11/11/22)Autumn Vibes in Ruston (10/21/22)Must-attend Holiday Happenings in Ruston (10/20/22)Best Burgers in Ruston (10/19/22)4 Ways to Celebrate the Arts this Fall (10/12/22)Emily F. Stogner Named CVB Marketing & Communications Director (10/10/22)FREE PERFORMANCE OF WORLD RENOWN ZYDECO BAND IN RUSTON NOV 4TH (10/6/22)How to Spend a Rainy Day in Ruston (7/27/22)Our Favorite Free things to do in Ruston (6/24/22)Your Bulldog Based on Your Enneagram Type (6/22/22)Experience Ruston Awards Grant to Friends of Ruston Skatepark (5/24/22)Guide to the 72nd Annual Louisiana Peach Festival (5/13/22)History of the Louisiana Peach Festival (5/13/22)Experience Ruston Celebrates National Travel & Tourism Week (5/2/22)5 Must-Attend Spring Events in Ruston (4/26/22)Restaurants Open on Sunday and Monday (3/16/22)Relax on these Ruston Patios (3/11/22)5 Places for Craft Beer in Ruston (3/1/22)10 Totally Romantic Ways to Experience Ruston (2/5/22)Lincoln Parish Park Wins 2022 Louey Award (2/4/22)Most Instagrammable Places in Ruston (1/28/22)Local Flavors of Mardi Gras (1/21/22)Grambling State University Wins Hospitality Award (1/10/22)

2021

2020

Full Course Feature Bonus: Ruston Lunch (11/18/20)Full Course Feature: Ruston Desserts (10/27/20)Full Course Feature: Ruston Entrées (10/20/20)Full Course Feature: Ruston Appetizers (10/14/20)Guide to Louisiana PEACHtober (10/12/20)Full Course Feature: Ruston Drinks (10/7/20)Dawg House: The Spot for LA Tech Football & More (9/1/20)Places to Work & Study Remotely: Ruston, LA (8/11/20)Pet-Friendly Guide to Ruston (8/3/20)Tori W. Davis Named CVB Marketing Director (7/20/20)5 Reasons to Visit Lincoln Parish Park (6/30/20)Where to Get Ruston Peaches (6/24/20)Ruston Eats Reopen (6/3/20)Shop Ruston Online (6/3/20)Local Attractions Reopen Safely (6/3/20)CVB and Lincoln Parish Police Jury Enter Into New CEA (3/11/20)Crawfish Season in Ruston, LA (3/9/20)Amanda Q. Carrier Named CVB President & CEO (3/6/20)A Vegetarian's Guide To Ruston Louisiana (3/2/20)Experience Ruston Wins STS 2020 Shining Example Award (2/17/20)Mamon Graduates Louisiana Tourism Leadership Academy (2/7/20)Experience Ruston Wins Louisiana Travel Association 2020 Louey Award (2/4/20)Camp Ruston - A Brief History (1/28/20)Dixie Youth World Series Volunteers Win Hospitality Award (1/24/20)Mardi Gras in Ruston (1/15/20)

2019

4 Kid-Friendly Hiking and Biking Trails in Ruston (12/18/19)Dixie Youth World Series Honored as a 2019 Champion of Economic Impact (12/17/19)SportsEvents Announces Ruston Sports Complex as a 2020 Readers’ Choice Award Winner (12/17/19)Holidays in Ruston (11/16/19)LA Tech Game Day Guide (10/22/19)Louisiana Seafood Gumbo Recipe (10/14/19)Quickest Ruston Eats for Interstate Travelers (10/14/19)Top 5 Places To Get Cocktails In Ruston Louisiana (9/26/19)Spending A Weekend In Ruston Louisiana (9/25/19)5 Top Restaurants in Ruston Louisiana (9/25/19)4 Must-Attend Events for Fall (9/23/19)Experience Ruston and Up with People Host Peace Day Celebration   (9/13/19)Gearin’ Up for Louisiana Tech Gamedays in Ruston, LA (9/4/19)Big Creek Trade Days (9/3/19)Strong Year Reported for Tourism in Lincoln Parish (8/22/19)Louisiana Tech Special Collections, Manuscripts & Archives (7/31/19)Ruston Sports Complex Now Open (7/26/19)Peachy Summer Recipes (7/10/19)Best Coffee Shops In Ruston (7/8/19)Top Cool Down Locales in Ruston (7/2/19)Guide to the Louisiana Peach Festival (6/4/19)BBQ Eats in Ruston (5/13/19)RUSTON STRONG (5/1/19)Tourism Development Grants Available (4/23/19)Downtown Food Park – The Latest in Ruston’s Culinary Scene (4/15/19)Ruston will host American Crappie Trail National Championship (3/25/19)Railroad Fest – A Celebration of Makers & Music (3/11/19)American Crappie Trail National Championship comes to North Louisiana (3/4/19)Loyal Blue Weekend wins 2019 Louey Award (1/30/19)Celebrating Black History Month in Lincoln Parish (1/29/19)Date Night in Ruston (1/13/19)Bustamante, Causey Win Hospitality Award (1/7/19)

2018

2016

Get Connected