Gambit's Emerging Chefs Challenge 2013:
Meet the Chefs 



Chef Austin Kirzner
Chef Austin Kirzner
Executive Chef, Red Fish Grill

After earning his culinary wings in Brennan family kitchens (Commander’s Palace, Café Adelaide, and Commander’s Palace in Destin,) New Orleans native Austin Kirzner became the Executive Chef of Ralph Brennan’s Red Fish Grill in 2012. Austin’s innovative dishes reflect the flavors of traditional New Orleans cooking, befitting Red Fish Grill’s status as a culinary anchor of the French Quarter - a place for diners looking for favorites served with a twist. With Austin at the helm, Red Fish Grill has been named the one of the “32 Best Seafood Restaurants in the US” by Travel + Leisure and a “Top 100 Best Place to Eat in the South” by The Southern Foodie Cookbook [Southern Living.] Red Fish Grill’s signature BBQ Oyster, of which it sold its 3 millionth in 2013, has been named a “Most Memorable Meal” by Forbes.com.

  Chef Camille Boudreaux
Chef Camille Boudreaux
Killer Poboys

Chef Camille Boudreaux is a restlessly creative New Orleans native, entrepreneur and chef/proprietor of Killer Poboys. After working as a cook in New Orleans for a number of years in casual and fine dining he attended New England Culinary Institute to further his education in the industry. He also spent four years in New York honing his skills in high-standard kitchens including Fatty Crab and The Standard Hotel. Moving home after Katrina, Cam worked as Sous Chef at Green Goddess while developing his plans for his successful venture, Killer Poboys. In less than a year, he has helped to develop a distinguishably different approach to a New Orleans classic and is opening Dis Taco, an internationally inspired taco concept, in Molly’s At The Market. His style draws inspiration from international dishes applied to local ingredients in a simple, no fuss package of street food served in a casual bar atmosphere.

Chef Mia Calamia
Chef Mia Calamia

La Divina Gelateria

Chef Mia Calamia became the Executive Chef at La Divina in September 2011. Prior to joining La Divina, she was the Pastry Chef at restaurants Herbsaint and Patois. Upon joining La Divina, Chef Mia revamped the savory menu to include more local ingredients and exciting and unusual combinations for salads and paninis.

Chef Mia draws upon the Italian tradition of using what is fresh, local and seasonal and relying upon the uncomplicated and unadulterated flavors of high quality ingredients. Everything in her kitchen is made from scratch.

Since joining La Divina, Chef Mia has continued the cafe's commitment to the ‘Locavore’ food movement, with the addition of special dinners and seasonal Friday Italian small plate happy hours. In addition to her savory menu, Chef Mia also continues to expand the cafe's artisanal gelato and sorbetto repertoire and pastry menu.


Chef Brett Duffe
Bayona

Born and raised on the West Bank, Brett's love for the food and culture of the Deep South started very young as he spent all of his free time hunting and fishing in the swamp land around his childhood home. A self-taught chef, he was exposed to an eclectic mix of tastes and smells in the homes of family friends from West Texas to Thailand, all of which he has parlayed into a style of cooking all his own based on the principles of sustainable agriculture. His motto: “Vivre la tradition de la Louisiane cuisine.”

Chef Stacy Hall
Chef Stacy Hall
Dick & Jenny's

Stacy Hall’s appreciation for the simple aspects of cooking was influenced by memories of the aromas from her grandmother’s kitchen. By the age of fifteen, Stacy realized that her love of food and cooking could become a career, which motivated her to enroll into the culinary program at Delgado.

Her career has evolved, including working on Prince of Whales Island, Alaska under Chef Stuart Campbell, which she did for ten years. During this time, in the off season, Stacy worked under chef Gerard Maras, opening both Ralph’s on the Park and Table One restaurant. It wasn’t until 2008 that she was welcomed into the Dick & Jenny's family by chef James Leeming.

Her position at Dick & Jenny's has allowed her to express her passion for cooking. In 2010, she became chef de cuisine and since then she has flourished as one of the top up-and-coming New Orleans Chefs. In 2012, she was in Best Chefs of New Orleans, and participated in Fleet Week. She continues to make her mark on the discerning palates of New Orleanians with her fresh and innovative takes on traditional French-Creole comfort food.

Chef Nick Hufft
Chef Nick Hufft

Barcadia

Nick Hufft opened a late-night food cart seven years ago, near the bars frequented by LSU students. Four years later he graduated college and purchased a truck to roam the streets of Baton Rouge serving what 225 magazine and the LSU Reveille just named "Best Burgers in Baton Rouge." Fast forward another 2 years, and he purchases another truck that serves exclusively house-made sausages. Today, Nick is currently the chef/owner of Curbside Food Trucks and Curbside Catering, and is the executive chef at Barcadia Bar & Grill, where he is creating made-from-scratch cuisine that pairs well with a pint.

Chef Nick Lama
Chef Nick Lama

Gautreau's

New Orleans-born Nick Lama’s passion for food began at a young age while watching his Italian grandmother prepare dinner and accompanying his father to work at Lama’s St. Roch Seafood Market. Nick followed his dream of becoming a chef and attended the French Culinary Institute in New York. While studying in New York, Nick worked in some of the most prestigious kitchens, including The Mark by Jean-Georges and Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster. Eventually, his love of Southern flavors drew him home where Nick cooked at Muriel’s Jackson Square. Nick’s desire to refine his skills led him to Gautreau’s, where his career took off under the guidance of executive chef Sue Zemanick. Currently, Nick is chef de cuisine at Gautreau’s and is featured on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters cooking alongside Zemanick. Self-described as driven and ambitious, Nick’s food is uncomplicated and refined, highlighting ingredients from the Gulf South.

Chef Jeffrey Mattia
Chef Jeffrey Mattia

American Sector

Jeff Mattia is the Executive Chef at American Sector, the John Besh restaurant in The National WWII Museum. Growing up in Connecticut, his passion for cooking started at a young age when he would accompany his grandfather on fishing trips on Long Island Sound. Following high school, Jeff joined the United States Marine Corps, during which he had the opportunity to travel the Mediterranean region and learn about their cuisine. Following his service, Jeff returned to the United States and enrolled in Johnson & Wales University to complete their culinary arts degree program. After graduating, he worked at several prestigious restaurants in the Northeast, before moving to New Orleans with his family in 2010, where he had taken a position at Restaurant August as executive sous chef. Jeff became the sous chef at American Sector in the summer of 2011, and was named executive chef in 2012.

Chef Brad McGehee
Chef Brad McGehee

Ye Olde College Inn

Bradley is a San Francisco Bay Area native who has lived in New Orleans for 11 years now. Brad graduated from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and completed his internship under Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace. He then moved on to work under Chef Tom Wolfe at Wolfe’s on the Lake, Peristyle, and Wolfe’s in the Warehouse before accepting the position of chef de cuisine at The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans. Working under Chef Matt Murphy at the Ritz, he discovered his passion for farm-to-table cuisine. Bradley left the Ritz two years ago to join the Blancher family at Ye Olde College Inn and Rock ‘n’ Bowl as the executive chef and oversees food operations. He has improved the menu, maximized the fresh produce grown next door on the farm, and expanded dining options.

Chef Lincoln Owens
Chef Lincoln Owens

Meme's Bar & Grill

Lincoln Owens is the executive chef at Meme's Bar & Grille in Chalmette. Chef Lincoln found his way to the Third Coast via Los Angeles where he met his current wife, and they relocated to her house in Arabi. Lincoln accepted a position at Emeril's Restaurant, then went on to a stint at Cafe B in Metairie. In December 2011, Lincoln's dreams were answered and he was tapped to be the head chef in a brand new restaurant in St. Bernard Parish. Lincoln's fusion of awesome local flavors designed to appeal to warmhearted locals have made Meme's Bar & Grille a huge success.

Chef Anthony Scanio
Chef Anthony Scanio

Emeril's Delmonico

A native New Orleanian, Anthony Scanio infuses his New Orleans experiences, coupled with his world travels and love of history, into the Creole-inspired food he creates as chef de cuisine for Emeril’s Delmonico restaurant in the Lower Garden District. Anthony honed his chops at New Orleans restaurants Café Indo followed by Herbsaint, where he studied under James Beard Award-winning chefs Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski. He also spent a year studying in Rome before joining Emeril Lagasse’s team at Delmonico in 2005 as a line cook. Scanio’s vision and flavor for Emeril’s Delmonico is expressed through his own heritage and fresh, ingredient-based approach to cooking. He’s returning to the roots of Creole cooking—homey, approachable, and diverse—and reintroducing local ingredients and techniques that have been long forgotten to interpret the dishes for today’s tastes, all in tradition with Lagasse’s signature “New New Orleans” cuisine.

Chef Vanessa Thurber
Chef Vanessa Thurber

Vine & Dine

In 2002, Vanessa Thurber left the hustle and bustle lifestyle of a stockbroker to pursue her dream of becoming a chef. She said goodbye to family and friends in Arkansas, packed her belongings in a U-Haul, and set out for a new adventure in New Orleans. After experiencing termite swarms, stinging caterpillars and fire ants, she had serious doubts about making the move permanent. That is, until she met native New Orleanian and now-husband, Stephen Thurber — and the rest was history. Vanessa’s passion for wine and food, combined with her desire to bring the two together in a relaxed setting, culminated in the opening of Vine & Dine. Located in historic Algiers Point, and just steps from the Canal Street ferry landing, Vine & Dine has become a destination for tourists and locals alike.






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