by Ian McNulty
Chef Baruch Rabasa has left Meson 923 (923 S. Peters St., 523-9200) and will begin next week as the new chef at Atchafalaya.
He’s the second chef to depart Meson 923 since it opened in March 2010. Its original chef, Emeril’s alum Chris Lynch, left in October of that year and Rabasa, who had been his sous chef, then took the reigns. Prior to joining Meson 923, Rabasa had been sous chef at Gautreau's Restaurant.
A spokesperson for Meson 923 says the restaurant is working on plans for a new chef. Meson 923 was closed this week but the spokeswoman says it will reopen for dinner this Friday with the rest of its kitchen staff.
Tony Tocco, owner of Atchafalaya, says his former chef Mark Springfloat left to join the local company Pigeon Caterers.
“He has a family and was looking for a schedule that would be a little more sane,” Tocco says. “We’re really excited to have Baruch coming here. He’s a true rock star.”
Rabasa’s cooking at Meson 923 followed in a similarly modern style established there by Lynch, with a focus on seafood, daily crudo and scallop preparations and the use of sous vide cooking techniques. That’s markedly different from the cooking at Atchafalaya, which recently has been more like a Creole neighborhood café gone upscale. Tocco says Rabasa is working on new menus now, and while he will bring new influences to Atchafalaya the restaurant will still retain its current style and some of its more popular dishes.
“Baruch is bringing more sophistication to the menu here, but really we have to hang on to the things that brought us to the dance in the first place,” says Tocco.
He says Atchafalaya’s New Year’s Eve menu will showcase some of what is in store. Details are still in the works for that holiday service, but he says it will be a pre fixe format priced around the $100 range.