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Rita Bernhardt moves to Domenica

Chef changes at Domenica, Curio and other restaurants



Rita Bernhardt is now chef de cuisine at Domenica (123 Baronne St., 504-648-6020;, a modern Italian trattoria in the Roosevelt Hotel that's known for wood-fired pizzas, house-made pastas and a popular happy hour.

  BRG Hospitality (, formerly called the Besh Restaurant Group, made the announcement in a press release touting it as the first major back-of-the-house hire since CEO Shannon White took over the company last fall. White assumed control in October 2017 after John Besh stepped down amidst multiple allegations of sexual misconduct at the company.

  Bernhardt worked as a line cook at Domenica in 2011 before going on to work at restaurants including August and Bacchanal Wine. Bernhardt and her partner ran the speakeasy-style supper club and catering service The PDR (which stood for Private Dining Room) and later operated a stand at the St. Roch Market. She left Dick & Jenny's to move to Domenica, where she is working with executive chef Michael Wilson.

  Dick & Jenny's recently had a change in ownership. Former owners Cristiano Raffignone and Kelly Barker bought the restaurant in 2013. A new executive chef has not yet been hired, according to an employee at the restaurant.

  Executive chef Hayley Vanvleet has departed Curio (301 Royal St., 504-717-4198; Vanvleet was the opening chef at the French Quarter eatery owned by Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts ( Vanvleet previously worked at Peche, Kingfish and Cochon Butcher.

  Brody LeBlanc is the new executive chef at Curio. LeBlanc has worked at Palace Cafe, Tableau, Borgne and La Provence. For the past two years, LeBlanc oversaw operations as executive sous chef at the CBD catering space Pigeon and Prince.

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