the History of The Cuisine
Chef Norm Théard (pronounced Thay-ard) made his first culinary splash with “the Creole Chef” in the Baldwin Hills area of Los Angeles. When he and brother Paul opened, family & friends knew he would get noticed -- and he did. Reviews and such came quickly in local publications like the Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly and accolades followed from national publications like USA Today, Gayot, and the Zagat book. The Creole Chef was even featured in a film installation about heritage and culture at the Skirball Center in LA which is still on display every day.
More recently, serving as Executive Chef of “Roux” in Laguna Beach, there was more of the same -- with Best New Restaurant and Top 2 in the O.C. Register.
Now, with “the QUARTER” Chef Norm’s creativity takes flight in a larger space. And this time as a strictly “family owned” business with his siblings Les Theard Jr., Dr. Christine Theard, Paul Theard & Michael Theard as partners.
Norm is the youngest child of New Orleans natives Les Théard and Yvonne Ozenne Théard, Norm gets his natural, creative skill with food from a family that has long been known for some of the best cooks you can find -- in New Orleans or anywhere. Yvonne learned from her mother Pearl and from her Aunts how to create fine Creole food. They had all learned from previous generations -- in particular from Great Grandma Josephine St. Amant who worked as a professional chef in Haiti. Josephine’s primarily French cooking style was instilled with a great deal of Island influence, and that fusion is what she brought with her when hired to move to New Orleans by a wealthy French family. As Yvonne grew up surrounded by talented cooks, she shined as the best culinary talent in her generation. All her life, she’s been asked, “When are you going to open a restaurant?
When Yvonne met Chef Norm’s dad Les Theard, enjoying fine food from all different cultures was a common passion. And although Les is known to cook from time to time, it was Yvonne’s unique talent in the kitchen that inspired Norm to cook. Like his Momma, Chef Norm’s childhood gave him a lifelong exposure to fine cooking. And while all his siblings were exposed to the traditional New Orleans recipes and techniques demonstrated by Yvonne, this time it was Norm who stuck out as the obvious talent.
Chef Norm’s culinary path -- from working as Executive Chef for Sheraton to “the Creole Chef,” “Roux Creole” and now here at “the QUARTER” -- answers that decades old restaurant question for the whole family.
Now, we can all share in the tradition. Many of the family members now reside here in Southern California, and they come in often. You’ll even see Yvonne pop in from time to time to enjoy the culmination of her family’s cooking history -- & perhaps to make sure no one’s messing anything up.
Eh, la bas ! Bon appetit!