Rising Star Chef Drake Leonards of Eunice - Biography

Houston, TX

November 2019

Growing up in Eunice, Louisiana, where cajun jambalayas and seafood boils floweth over, Drake Leonards fell in love with food and hospitality—he was barely old enough to see across the table. At 15, Leonards officially entered the industry as a dishwasher and, a few years later, enrolled at Nicholls State University, earning a science degree with a concentration in culinary arts. During school, he kept busy with work at BRG Hospitality’s Restaurant August in New Orleans and also helped the group open Luke. 

After graduation, Leonards made way to New York and Daniel Boulud’s team at Café Boulud, staying for two formative years. Eager to continue to expand his horizons, Leonards bid Boulud farewell and set off to the Black Forest of Germany to cook for Chef/Hunter/Butcher/Cheesemaker Karl Joseph Fuchs at Spielweg Hotel. While in Europe, he also cooked at Auberge Du Lac, St. John, and The Hand and Flowers in the UK, and spent time in and around Paris stewing hens, cooking with French grandmas, picking up warm baguettes from the boulanger, and observing Chef Arnaud Nicolas create his famous pâtés and terrines (he tasted them, too). Leonards also made stops in Spain and Switzerland.  

After two years, New Orleans called him home. Leonards returned to August and Luke, and started at French-Creole farmhouse La Provence. When presented with the opportunity to launch his own project in Houston, Leonards opened Eunice, a modern Cajun-Creole brasserie with dishes like cajun duck poppers, gulf fish crudo, feast-worthy seafood platters, étouffée that showcase the flavors of his hometown, and, of course, jambalaya.