Archie Casbarian of Arnaud's Restaurant in New Orleans insists that, while new dishes are essential to the restaurant's growth, they must fit in with the Creole cuisine for which Arnaud's is celebrated. Creole cooking is the ethnic food of New Orleans, and it dominates the local culinary scene the way French food does in France or Italian food in Italy. It grew from a grafting, two centuries ago, of French dishes onto African cooking practices, with Spanish, German and American influences. The oldest and best-developed of American regional cooking styles, Creole offers many distinctive ways of cooking almost anything.Creole food is always full-flavored, with generous components of butter, pepper, salt and herbs. The combination of onions, bell peppers and celery, cooked in a roux of oil and flour, is the starting point for a tremendous number of Creole dishes – although Creole tastes can emerge when none of those ingredients are present. The one essential ingredient is taste, and plenty of it.