Chef Doug Villavaso was born and raised in New Orleans, LA surrounded by a rich culinary heritage. This, coupled with the coastal bounty of seafood, the hospitality and generosity of the city of New Orleans’ culinary scene and his granny’s love of cooking, inspired a desire to learn everything he could about cooking at a young age. He took this love of cooking that was instilled in him to his first kitchen job working as a prep cook/dishwasher at Two Tony’s. Shortly thereafter, he was waiting tables at Emeril’s “Delmonico”.
He left New Orleans in 1999 to move to Seattle. This is where he first started working as a line cook and fell in love with cooking professionally. He cooked in small Mom & Pop establishments all the way up to large hotel restaurants. Leaving Seattle in 2003 to open his own restaurant in Luling, LA with his father, Doug Villavaso, Sr., naming the restaurant, “Dougie V’s”. In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the southern coast of the U.S. and left many stranded without food or shelter. His restaurant, which was left unscathed, fed 2,400+ daily and sheltered many others as they made their way out of the city.
Doug has worked with many successful businesses since moving to Minneapolis in 2008. He started as a Kitchen Manager for Gluek’s Bar & Restaurant. After working there he decided to obtain a culinary degree from Le Cordon Bleu. After graduating with honors in 2011, Then transited to work at many fine local establishments, including Hazel’s, Parasole, Le Etoile Du Nord, and most recently, Firelake Grill & Cocktail Lounge at the Mall of America.
Doug has a deep love for the Cajun/Creole food he was raised on but also has come to embrace many cultural cuisines throughout the world.