Kristen Essig joins Coquette team as chef, partner

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Kristen Essig has joined the team at Garden District restaurant Coquette as chef and partner.
  • Kristen Essig has joined the team at Garden District restaurant Coquette as chef and partner.

After leaving executive chef positions at both Meauxbar and Cavan, chef Kristen Essig has joined the team at Coquette (2800 Magazine St., 504-265-0421; www.coquettenola.com). 

The announcement came Wednesday morning (June 22), a little more than two months after Essig departed the Rampart Street and Uptown restaurants, which are both owned by local hospitality group LeBlanc + Smith, which also operates Sylvain.

Essig is joining the restaurant as a chef and equity partner, the announcement said. The business will still be helmed by executive chef and owner (and Essig’s boyfriend) Michael Stoltzfus, who opened the restaurant in September 2008.

“We are excited for Kristen to join the team,” Stoltzfus said in the statement. “It brings a fresh set of eyes and a new set of skills to Coquette.”

The couple created the Southern-leaning pop-up Little Bird at whiskey haunt Barrel Proof (a LeBlanc + Smith property), and have said they plan to work on future projects together, including a restaurant. 

“While I may not be in the kitchen everyday, working at an established restaurant as a
partner will allow me to stretch my repertoire to encompass both the business side of the restaurant as well as focus on the hospitality with which we treat our diners at Coquette,” Essig says. “It’s very important to me that I not lose my identity as a chef — this platform allows me to still influence and create dishes, and help where I can as I step into my new role as a business owner.”

With Essig’s arrival comes the return of the restaurant’s “No Menu Tuesday” series, a weekly event launched by Stoltzfus last summer. For $45, diners received a “secret” themed five-course menu, which changes every week. This year, the team is releasing themes, but not dishes, prior to the dinners.

The series includes the following dates:

June 28
Breakfast for Dinner

July 4
Louisiana Tomatoes

July 11
Provence

July 19
Cocktails for Dinner

July 26
Barbecue

The series will run through the end of September. For more information, or to make reservations, visit the restaurant's website here.


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