by Scott Gold
Something of a "chef shuffle" is in the crisp Fall air in New Orleans, with several notable restaurants getting some fresh blood in their kitchens. Most prominently of these recent changes is at the Southern Yacht Club, where chef and restaurateur Kevin Vizard has recently unfurled his sails.
Local diners will recognize Vizard from his eateries Vizard's and Hevin, where he dreamed up a po-boy/panini hybrid sandwich known as the "po-nini." The club, located on the southern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, has been hosting hungry sailors since 1849, and is the second oldest yacht club in the U.S. Vizard admits that this is his virgin voyage into private dining, but notes that he's eager to "bring the same creativity to this 164-year-old institution that I put into all my restaurants."
Over in the Central Business District, neo-Sicilian restaurant cibugnù has tapped Richard Papier as their new executive chef. Papier, a New Orleans native and veteran of the Delachaise, among other venerable local kitchens, joins the Italian spot, which again is pronounced "chee-BOO-noo." Fans of the restaurant will be happy to see the new chef continue to feature wood-fired pizzas, handmade pastas, house-cured salumi, and a wine list specializing in Sicilian varietals.
Former cibugnù chef Octavio Ycaza, meantime, can be found the Warehouse District cooking up traditional Spanish and Latin American seafood dishes at RioMar, under the direction of chef/owner Miles Prescott.