About Chef Eric
Chef Eric started cooking at the age of 13. Cafeteria food did not suit his needs so he started experimenting in the kitchen at home. It started with frozen chicken strips and white gravy and soon progressed to full meals for his family. Having a mother that was a fabulous cook didn’t hurt!
After graduating high school and attending Louisiana Tech and North East Louisiana Universities, he decided to try construction work for a bit. This wasnot his true calling. So, he decided to trade the heat of outdoor work for the heat of the kitchen.
In 1990 he enrolled in the Delta Ouachita Culinary Arts program. During his schooling he was able to enter several cooking competitions and represented Louisiana in the VICA National Culinary Arts Competition. While attending school, he was appointed head cook at the New Orleans Café in Monroe, La. Next, he moved on to Bayou Desiard Country Club where he worked under Chef David Gerlach for five years.
After much consideration Chef Eric decided it was time to broaden his horizons. Red Stick (Baton Rouge) would be his landing spot. Chef John Folse decided to give Eric a chance as Sous Chef at his premiere catering facilityWhite Oak Plantation. There he learned the in and outs of Cajun and Creole cuisine. Working directly under Chef Michelle Foquateau, then Chef Mike Dardenne, Chef Eric learned classical French techniques as well.
During his stay a friend he met in the Virgin Islands asked if he would be interested in cooking for an event on the island of St. Croix. Eric submitted a menu and off he went to cook for the St. Croix Environmental Associations annual auction. They enjoyed it so much he was invited for three consecutive years.
Eric spent five years with Chef Folse working all over the company. He was chosen to be the food stylist for"Hot Beignets & Warm Boudoirs", Chef Folse's cook book at the time. He traveled all over the state of Louisiana visiting plantation homes and B&B’s setting up food shots for the cookbook. After completing the cookbook he went into the PBS studios to shoot the TV series "A Taste of Louisiana" that coincided with the cookbook.
During this time Chef Folse's famous restaurant Lafittes Landing was destroyed in a horrible fire. Deciding to regroup Chef Flose rebuilt Lafittes in downtown Donaldsonville. The new restaurant would be called Lafittes at Bittersweet. Chef Eric was called on again to re-open Lafittes as the Executive Sous Chef. Working under another very talented chef Steve Zucker, he honed his skills in the art of fine dining. While at Lafittes, the restaurant was awarded the highest award of “Five Beans” from SM Haun food critic at the Times Picayune.
Feeling the urge to move on, Chef Eric left for Thibodaux where he ran the food service for a small hotel. Home was calling, so Eric decided to pack up and move back to North East Louisiana. Back home, Eric joined the team of Valley Services, a corporate food service company, to be the chef at CenturyTel.
One year later he was promoted to Food Service Director for Chase Manhattan Bank with Valley. After two years a new calling came and Chef Eric moved to St. Francis Medical Center to be the Executive Chef. While cooking at the medical center he had the opportunity to try a new avenue in cooking and cook as a personal chef to several families in the Monroe area. Juggling executive chef and personal chef duties was fun, but it gave him the idea to branch off and start his own business.
In April 2007 Chef Eric left St. Francis and incorporated Chef Eric Johnson & Company! His idea was to provide the twin cities with personal chef and catering services at a high level. Chef Eric now resides with his wife and three children in West Monroe, Louisiana and is ready to take on new and exciting challenges!