The Chef Lou Story...
Chef Lou was born in Boise and when he was 11 days old, his family moved back to their home state of Alabama. He spent his first 11 years of his life there, but his family moved back to Boise in 1973 after bouts with bad weather and tornados made them remember how beautiful and peaceful it was in Boise. He attended St. Mary’s Grammar School and graduated from Bishop Kelly High School in 1980. He graduated from the American Culinary Federation’s Chef’s Apprenticeship program in 1984. He has worked in restaurants since 1977. His first job was at the Havana Club-Bouquet restaurant in Boise where he washed dishes and bussed tables. He Chef-apprenticed in Boise at the Gamekeeper Restaurant and now defunct but well remembered Royal restaurant in Boise under American Academy of Chef member, John R. Fisher (Chef Fisher is now the head instructor at Renton Technical College in Seattle, Washington). He moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1981 and worked for Hilton Hotels until 1983. In 1983, Lou opened The Top of the Hoff restaurant in Boise, Idaho. From 1986-1988, Lou worked for Hilton Corporation in San Antonio, Texas, where he was featured in the national television series “Great Chef’s of the West” along with the companion cookbook, “Southwest Tastes”. Lou has won numerous awards for his food presentations and recipes. He attributes his love for cooking from his Mom & Dad. “My dad cooked great Southern foods and My Mom’s history is from the Abruzzi Region in Italy, so I got a good mix of old fashioned Southern comfort food and wonderful Italian regional specialties.” He has a love for both styles, but he really fell in love with Southwestern food when he was in Texas. Lou has a lot of fun mixing and matching all of these cuisines. He also 100% wholeheartedly believes that Happy Cooks make Happy People!
Lou met his wife of 25 fantastic years, Renee, in 1985, when she was working with him at The Top of the Hoff. They were married in 1987 and they have two wonderful children, Joshua and Emily.
From 1989-1994, Lou was a Corporate Chef for Ram International (Murphy’s, the Ram). In 1994, Lou and his partner Ron Isaacs (Father-in-Law) purchased The Westside Drive-in and opened Westside Catering Company shortly thereafter. The Westside has been awarded Boise Best Drive-in for the past eight years and Lou grew Westside Catering into Boise’s Largest Catering Company. In October of 2004, Lou retired from the catering business to focus on other projects.
Chef Lou enjoys cooking in front of people and he has had a weekly cooking segment on NBC’s KTVB Channel 7 for fourteen years. He also runs the ever popular Idaho Ice Cream Potato Booths at the Western Idaho Fair and Art in the Park. Lou is currently serving as President of his Company, RILA Business Concepts, Inc. and also President of Boise based Creative Foods, Inc., the company that manufactures Chef Lou’s famous dessert, The Idaho Ice Cream Potato. He is immediate past chairman of NFIB(National Federation of Independent Business) Idaho and is currently serving on the Board of Directors for Les Bois Federal Credit Union in Boise. More to come!