The Southern Food & Beverage Museum (SoFAB) recently received the personal collection of the late Chef Paul Prudhomme, which contains around 600 cookbooks, wine and food documents, as well as technical books on food science. Donated by his family, the archives are available for reference use in the John and Bonnie Boyd Hospitality and Culinary Library at SoFAB.
“We are touched by this generous gift of Mrs. Lori Prudhomme and excited about the prospect of sharing his collection with the interested public,” says Liz Williams, president of SoFAB.
The cookbooks are, in some cases, annotated by Chef Prudhomme and serve as a testament to his lifelong curiosity and love for cuisine of all countries, particularly the regional cuisine upon which he built his career. Some of the volumes, even in foreign languages, are dedicated and inscribed to Prudhomme, and range from classic treatises on cooking to contemporary celebrity chef-written books. Some titles also include a label from Chef Prudhomme’s Magic Seasoning Blends in Harahan, stating “This book is the property of Paul Prudhomme.” The collection is now available for reference in the library.
The Boyd Library is a reference-only library containing over 11,000 volumes of culinary books, food and cocktail menus, pamphlets, archival documents, and a growing number of important collections, other literature and ephemera. Personal archives from Norman Van Aken, Louis Osteen, Dale DeGroff and others are valuable resources that can help facilitate the professional development of current and future culinary artists. The library will also house the Menu Project, an ongoing effort to collect, catalog, and digitize menus from every restaurant throughout the South and beyond. The database records the public history of eating and equips scholars with a critical tool in their study of American foodways.