Bruce Aidells starting cooking professionally while a graduate student at UC Santa Cruz.
He went on to work at Poulet, a charcuterie in Berkeley’s burgeoning “gourmet ghetto,” in the ’70s. In 1980, bored with cooking chicken every day, Aidells created a stir with the local media—and California’s fish and game department—for attempting to prepare alligator tails a buddy had brought back from Louisiana. In 1983, Aidells started his own sausage company, making andouille. He recounts, “It’s kinda neat to go into your kitchen one day to make some sausages, and then ten years later be a national brand.” Aidells is also a prolific and award-winning cookbook author. His latest, Bruce Aidells’s Complete Book of Pork: A Guide to Buying, Storing, and Cooking the World’s Favorite Meat, covers all things porcine from snout to tail.