Chip Flanagan is a New Orleans native with a native's interest in food. His paternal grandmother was a classic cooking matriarch, and his father was the weekend "special meals" cook. And while Flanagan (briefly) crossed the Mason Dixon line to earn his BFA from New York University, he'd call his dad to talk him through making red beans and rice in his dormitory kitchen. Working as a busboy in a local tavern during college, Flanagan eventually—and not surprisingly—wandered into the kitchen.
Returning to New Orleans, fine arts professional to be, Flanagan had a new path. He began at Alex Patout's, and after enrolling in the culinary program at Delgado Community College, Flanagan took a job at Chez Daniel, where he worked with Daniel Bonnot. Bonnot became his mentor, teaching Flanagan organization, kitchen sensibility, and old-fashioned hard work. Flanagan worked with Bonnot for eight years, during which he was given the opportunity to travel and continue learning.
Flanagan's next step was running a restaurant on the island of St. Croix, which featured American-Danish-Creole cuisine. The role wasn't without its challenges, but the New Orleans native had a clear affinity for the bounty of quality seafood. Returning to the mainland after a year, Flanagan headed to Louis XVI restaurant at the St. Louis Hotel, this time working under Chef Agnes Bellet, from whom he learned about the elements of refined tastes on the palate.
Flanagan returned to New Orleans and XVI after Hurricane Katrina, eventually joining the kitchen of Ralph Brennan's Ralph's on the Park. Now executive chef, Flanagan combines his native's palate with a dedication to farmers markets and local purveyors, a performer's ease under pressure (courtesy of his BFA), and healthy dose of his own personality. For his work, Flanagan has been recognized among Louisiana's "Top 25 Chefs" by the American Culinary Federation, and a 2012 "Best Executive Chef" by New Orleans CityBusiness.