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Spirit of Acadiana: Tony Chachere's celebrates 50 years

Tony Chachere's store.PNG
Posted at 6:34 AM, Mar 17, 2022

It was 1972 when an Opelousas man, who officially wasn't a cook, created a creole seasoning and a cookbook.

Selling both out of his car, Tony Chachere could have never guessed his name and seasoning would be featured so prominently in kitchens across the country.

50 years after taking the leap from pharmaceuticals and insurance to the spice world, Tony Chachere's is doing pretty well.

"Last year, just in terms of our spice line, coming out of a can or a bottle, we sold over 17,000,000 units," said Celeste Chachere, Tony's great-granddaughter.

Celeste said that her grandfather's dream turned into a career because he just couldn't stay retired.

"At 69, he decided he was going to follow his life's dream, and write a cookbook; and he published the recipe for the original creole seasoning on page two of the cookbook, and here we are," she said.

There have been two locations for Tony Chachere's in Opelousas, first on Lombard Street and then in 2012, the 150,000 square foot facility that was a Home Depot for two years.

It's an impressive operation, and just in terms of spice, 150 cans a minute get processed when the plant is running at full capacity.

And sales across the United States are huge. Even if the name throws off the out-of-towners.

"Chuh-cherry. Chuh-raringan. Catchers. Cashers. Chacheerays," said Celeste, are just some of the pronunciations she's heard. "Chockyray is what my I-phone likes to call me."

When asked about the legacy of the company and its success over the last 50 years, Celeste said it's about keeping things true and simple.

"You know, we want everything we put out there to be authentic. in its flavor, in its preparation," she said. "And I think, over the years, it's become a thing that people can really depend on. and feel comfortable and confident in their ability. You don't have to be a great cook to make great food."

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