New Orleans native Chris Dupont has worked in restaurants since he was a teenager. He got his start at The Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham but returned to New Orleans in the late 1980s to work with Emeril Lagasse at Commander's Palace, Susan Spicer at Maison du Ville, and Daniel Bonnet at Tour d'Eiffel. He opened his own restaurant, Café Dupont, in the small town of Springville, Ala., in the 1990s. Dupont’s menu featured locally grown produce even before “slow food” and “localvores” entered the lexicon. In 2003, Dupont moved his restaurant to downtown Birmingham but kept his focus on local ingredients. Café Dupont is one of the few Alabama restaurants to achieve AAA/CAA Four-Diamond status, and in 2009 it was named one of the city’s best restaurants by Food & Wine. Chef Dupont was a semifinalist for Best Chef in the South in the 2011 James Beard Foundation Awards.