David Dickensauge, executive chef of Beausoleil Coastal Cuisine, has found his voice both personally and in the kitchen, and while it’s a bit calmer than in his younger years, you still will find the whimsy and creativeness in his dishes that he’s known for.
“I am very passionate about what I do,” says the chef, who is known for his creativity and for putting a piece of himself into every plate through flavors and aesthetics. “I’ve been all around the world. I’ve cooked for the best chefs. For 30 years of my life, I’ve poured into the culinary world.”
Dickensauge’s culinary career began in New Orleans, working under James Beard award-winner Jamie Shannon at Commander’s Palace and at New Orleans’ legendary Galatoire’s. As a student, Dickensauge struggled with dyslexia, started getting into trouble and dropped out in ninth grade. It was Shannon who encouraged him to get his GED and attend the Culinary Institute of New Orleans.
After earning his degree, Dickensauge moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast to help open the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. Yearning for more experience, he embarked on a culinary adventure working for top chefs and restaurants in Birmingham, Chicago, Miami and New York. He then spent more than a year traveling through Spain and Italy, working in various restaurants and studying food.
He eventually found his way back to Louisiana, and Baton Rouge specifically, as head chef of Bin 77. Dickensauge was recognized in 2015 as a Best New Chef in Louisiana and as Best New Chef in 225 Magazine. “I already knew how to cook, but I knew how to cook other people’s food. At Bin 77, I cooked David Dickensauge. It’s whimsical, in-your-face, very different, and that’s just how I have my food today,” he says.
After 20 years in the industry, Dickensauge began his own new restaurant concept, Corks and Cleaver on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He won the Mississippi Seafood King award in 2017, but the restaurant closed within 2.5 years. Dickensauge says he lost the restaurants he owned due to his personal struggles, but today, he has a new focused inspiration for his cooking and giving back to the young culinary talents coming up that he is able to coach and inspire.
Since getting his life back on track and coming back to Baton Rouge, Dickensauge has helped spearhead Beausoleil and Proverbial Wine Bistro, worked as head chef at Tsunami Baton Rouge and now is back as executive chef at Beausoleil Coastal Cuisine with City Group Hospitality. He also is working on a nonprofit to help the incarcerated, addicted and others who feel like they have nowhere to go.
“I’ve been lucky to be surrounded by Stephen Hightower and Patrick Valuzzo, who believe in me as a human being, not just as a chef,” Dickensauge says. “I’m in the window of my life for redemption. I guess you could say my mind is in the right place, my soul is in the right place.”