chef-name: John Caluda

John Caluda was born and raised in a suburb of New Orleans, and at age 10 made his first chocolate éclairs. He attended the University of New Orleans Culinary Institute, then the CIA in New York, graduating in 1983.

He did his apprentice as chief steward-baker for 300 rig workers in the Gulf of Mexico, then began his culinary career as a pastry cook at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans under Great Chef Gerard Marais. In 1984 he and a friend opened the World’s Fair Beignet Café, and once it closed, worked the Westin Iberville Hotel and Flagon’s Wine Bar. In 1987 he became the Executive Pastry Chef under Great Chef Andrea Apuzzo for the next two years. In 1989, he opened Sweet Basil’s in New Orleans and a second location in Panama City, Florida.

In 1991, he returned to New Orleans to raise a family and to open Coffee Cottage in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie. In 1992, Great Chefs Television showed up to tape seven of Chef Caluda’s dishes for their Great Chefs, the Louisiana New Garde series, and their Great Chefs-Great Cities series.

In 1996, Chef John opened a second Coffee Cottage retail outlet in another New Orleans suburb, Harahan. In 2004, the lease had run out on the original Coffee Cottage, and it was torn down for a bank, and in 2006, after Hurricane Katrina, he sold his interest in the second Coffee Cottage, to concentrate on his Cottage Catering. Recently he purchased Dianne’s King Cake, changing the name to Caluda’s King Cake, in Harahan, Louisiana, where he features Crawfish King Cakes.

Chef Caluda is also a 5th degree Black Belt and National Champion for over 10 years.

He was Captain of several American teams representing the United States.