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New Orleans, USA

Pioneer of contemporary Southern cooking goes from strength to strength

In a nutshell: Chef-owner Donald Link's New Orleans bistro has led the way in modern Southern American cooking for more than 15 years and remains just as fresh today under the stewardship of Rebecca Wilcomb.

Typical dishes: The menu is studded with Southern classics from gumbo to dirty rice (served with confit Muscovy duck leg, bacon and almonds), but there are also Italian and French influences.  A gnocchi starter is flavoured with pancetta and a Parmesan broth, while slow-roasted pork belly comes with white beans, celery hearts and olives.

Chef's background: After cutting her teeth at restaurants in Massachusetts, including a formative stint at Oleana under influential chef Ana Sortun, Rebecca Wilcomb moved to New Orleans and Herbsaint in 2008. She worked under Link and chef Ryan Prewitt before taking over the kitchen as chef de cuisine in 2011.

Other ventures: Link operates several other restaurants in New Orleans including the Cajun-influenced Cochon, the butchery-bar concept Cochon Butcher and Pêche Seafood Grill.

What's in a name? Herbsaint is a famous absinthe-style drink from New Orleans.

Images: Link Restaurant Group

On the pass

  • Chef de cuisine Rebecca Wilcomb

Style of food

  • Modern Southern American

Standout dish

  • Louisiana shrimp and fish ceviche with cucumbers and pepitas