While Paul Prudhomme and Emeril were igniting a passion for Cajun and Creole cooking with TV audiences, John Folse was more quietly spreading the word. His Lafitte’s Landing in Donaldsville, La., spawned pop-ups in Europe, Asia and South America and led the state legislature to name Folse “Louisiana’s Culinary Ambassador to the World.”

Post-Hurricane Katrina, he’s refocusing his efforts closer to home. About five years ago, Folse formed Home on the Range: Folse Tramonto Restaurant Development with chef Rick Tramonto. Restaurant R’evolution, their first joint project, opened in 2012 in New Orleans’ French Quarter. It features modern interpretations of Cajun and Creole cuisine served in a lavish 190-seat space. Seafood R’evolution in Ridgeland, Miss., followed in 2014, and in May, the partners will announce a third R’evolution concept, Folse says.

With an eye to the future of the area, Folse also remains hands-on with two pet projects: the Ideation Center he created for restaurant and R&D chefs and the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La. Both are dedicated to encouraging the thousands of culinarians who have passed through the doors to celebrate their roots. “No matter where you come from, it’s all about the heart and soul you bring to the table and inspire in others,” he says.