409 W. Prien Lake Rd. • 337-274-6710
Chef’s Spotlight • By Karla Wall
Elvin King, chef at Meek’s Lounge and Bistro in Lake Charles, says his philosophy when it comes to food is quite simple.
“If I can’t wow you with it, I don’t want to serve it,” he says.
And he’s been wowing diners for 13 years now.
A New Orleans native, King’s a self-taught chef who learned on the job and, he says, from watching YouTube and Food network. He first entered the restaurant business as a dishwasher in Birmingham, Ala., where he evacuated to ahead of Hurricane Katrina. He then worked his way up in the kitchen, serving as sous chef and then line cook. After a time, he realized he was quite good at cooking.
“I began to realize that all of the other employees were asking me to cook them something,” he says. That’s when he knew he wanted to make cooking a career and open his own kitchen.
He made his way back to New Orleans, where he started a catering business. In 2017, he finally decided to follow the advice of his cousin, who had been urging him to come to Lake Charles. After a short time here, he met Tomika Bilbo, who had just opened Meek’s Lounge on Prien Lake Road across from the mall. Bilbo encouraged him to open the kitchen at Meek’s.
And he’s glad he made the move.
“The people in Lake Charles have shown me so much love,” he says. And the feeling is mutual, he says — the people who eat his food are why he loves his job.
The menu changes frequently and reflects King’s creativity and varied repertoire. From plate lunches featuring red beans and rice and spare ribs to pasta (“Oriental, Italian, you name it”) to chicken and waffles.
“The menu’s all over the place,” King says. “It’s creative. I like to think outside the box.”
For King, cooking is a passion and something he takes great pride in doing well.
“I put everything I have into my food,” he says.