New Iberia native, Stu Gonsuron, has enjoyed a long and varied career in the culinary industry which began when he worked as a busboy in high school. After working as a waiter and prep cook, he next attended culinary school in Lafayette and enjoyed several more years as a respected chef in several Acadiana restaurants.
Stu’s career took a turn towards management roles within the industry around 2005. As the Director of Mobilization for Google, Gonsuron now supports and facilitates the opening of new food spaces for Google in the U.S. and Canada.
“My team and I get involved in all aspects of these spaces, from concept development to design to construction and launch,” he said. “Currently, we have projects in flight for New York, Cambridge, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Montreal, DC, Toronto, Seattle and Los Angeles — all of which we contribute and support from inception through opening.”
Gonsuron and his family relocated to West Orange, New Jersey, when Stu accepted this role based out of Google’s New York City office.
“A typical day for me involves managing requests for information from various stakeholders in design and construction, while also having routine meetings with the culinary teams that will eventually operate these spaces to ensure we are meeting all of the milestones necessary to be successful on day one,” explains Gonsuron.
While his role no longer requires cooking for others, he has fully embraced cooking at home for himself and his family. “My kitchen is outfitted with many of the same tools, pots and pans that I used in restaurants that I purchased from local restaurant supply stores,” he says.
He also has a fun tradition of making pizza at home every Saturday. “I recently purchased an Ooni outdoor pizza oven, and it’s been a total game changer. Pizza and wine — it’s a weekend tradition,” says Stu.
When Stu is back in Louisiana, boudin is the first food on his plate. Another food he enjoys eating when back home is fried oyster po boys.
While New Jersey is a long way from home, Stu says that his neighborhood is a “group of great and friendly people with diverse backgrounds,” and that their kindness reminds him of home. He has found West Orange a great place to live — “aside from being a short, 30-minute train ride to one of the greatest cities, we have truly found a sense of community and belonging in our neighborhood,” he explains.
Saturday Pizza Night
The recipe below makes one of our favorite pizzas using Soppressata, an Italian dry salami, and Mike’s Hot Honey, but you can use your own preference for toppings. I recommend using Peter Reinhart’s Neo-Neapolitan Pizza Dough recipe, which is a quick internet search away. (Makes four pizzas + four glasses of wine)
• Digital scale • Wooden pizza peel
• Aluminum pizza peel
Neo-Neapolitan Pizza Dough: 1 batch makes four 10-ounce dough balls
1 ½ cups Crushed tomatoes, canned
Kosher Salt to taste
Dried Oregano to taste
Crushed red pepper to taste
12 ounces Mozzarella, fresh
12 ounces Soppressata, sliced
Mike’s Hot Honey to taste
1 bottle Nebbiolo or Beaujolais red wine
1. With your dough ready for pizza making, dust the wooden pizza peel and lay down one of the dough balls onto it. Begin pressing the dough in the center and work out toward the ends, adding more flour as needed when it starts to stick. Continue to stretch the dough until it’s about 12-14” in diameter.
2. Working quickly, add the crushed tomatoes, then sprinkle with salt, crushed red pepper and oregano. Next, top with mozzarella and soppressata.
3. In a home oven, launch the pizza onto the stone and bake for five minutes. Remove the pizza with your aluminum pizza peel and inspect for doneness. If needed, return to the oven for another minute. In an outdoor oven, launch the pizza and bake for about 90 seconds, rotating every 20 - 30 seconds.
4. Once baked, drizzle with Mike’s Hot Honey and allow the pizza to rest for 3 - 5 minutes before cutting. Repeat the process above for the other three dough balls.