Name: Graison Gill
Profession: Owner & Baker, Bellegarde Bakery
Describe the greatest influence on your life? Growing up in a town in Southern California that was a beautiful kaleidoscope of many different people. Many were first generation Americans who were proud of their heritage and cuisine. Being surrounded by people whose identities were defined by their families and communities gave me a strong personal compass.
Describe what you see as our future: I’m very concerned about the future of our beautiful city. If New Orleans is to have any future, we must focus on improving the quality of life for people who spend a lifetime here, not just a weekend. I’d like to see tax money spent on the structural and systemic issues which plague our city and quality of life: housing, health, fresh food, education, and poverty.
How has the pandemic impacted your industry? It has completely devastated our industry. The Louisiana Restaurant Association has predicted that up to 50% of restaurants here will close permanently and that figure does not take into account ancillary businesses, such as mine. We need tax incentives that prioritize local businesses over those from out of state and policies that support the people who make New Orleans the most incredible city in the country.
Favorite art gallery: A Gallery for Fine Photography
Favorite meal and where to get it: Plate lunch at Marjie’s Grill
A song that defines your coming of age: In a Sentimental Mood by John Coltrane
Name a necessary extravagance: Shopping at Harold’s Plants
Favorite drink or cocktail: Scotch with one large rock
Best musical concert ever: Bad Brains at CBGB’s two nights before it closed
Organization you’ve supported during the pandemic: Grow Dat Youth Farm
Interviews have been edited and condensed.
This article appeared in the September 2020 Issue of Adore Magazine.