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May 31, 201811:37 AM
Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

Pairings

I like to think of myself as a keen observer of humans. I have had the opportunity to observe chef Chris DeBarr for a number of years, sometimes quite closely. I find him to be one of the more interesting people I’ve encountered and only in part because of his eclectic, imaginative cooking. DeBarr has popped up at various places over the past few years, and I’ve enjoyed his cooking at each, though he hasn’t always had the freedom he did at the Delachaise, where I first met him.

I am an optimist and have been called naïve, but whenever a chef I like turns up at a new place, I convince myself that it makes sense, even when it sometimes doesn’t. It’s easy to convince oneself, though, when one wants to believe. I think chefs and restaurateurs do the same thing.

I attended a press event a number of years ago when a chef took over the kitchens at a Northshore restaurant with its own farm. The chef took us on a tour, and he was enthusiastic about the kitchens, the farms, and the things he was going to cook there. He lasted about a year. I’m told it was a difference in expectations on both sides, and the parting was amicable, but I sure thought it was going to work at the time.

I say this to acknowledge that sometimes I am wrong about a particular pairing of chef and kitchen, but nevertheless I am excited to hear DeBarr is going to be cooking at Revel, because that’s a great place and I really like Chris and Laura McMillian, who run it.

I have spent more time with Mr. McMillian behind the bar than I probably should’ve. I don’t regret a minute. He’s “old-school,” I guess, but more because of his style than the drinks he pours. In all, I can’t really imagine a better place for chef DeBarr than perhaps if Salvador Dali rose from the dead to open a 12-seat restaurant in Mid-City.

I’m looking forward to visiting because it’s been a long time since I’ve tasted DeBarr’s food or had McMillian make me a drink. I will take notes and report, but if you have been, please let me know what you thought.

 

 

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Haute Plates

Our weekly blog on the New Orleans fine dining scene

about

Robert D. Peyton was born at Ochsner Hospital and, apart from four years in Tennessee for college and three years in Baton Rouge for law school, has lived in New Orleans his entire life. He is a strong believer in the importance of food to our local culture and in the importance of our local food culture, generally. He has practiced law since 1994, and began writing about food on his website, www.appetites.us, in 1999. He mainly wrote about partying that year, obviously.

In 2006, New Orleans Magazine named Appetites the best food blog in New Orleans. The choice was made relatively easy due to the fact that Appetites was, at the time, the only food blog in New Orleans.

He began writing the Restaurant Insider column for New Orleans Magazine in 2007 and has been published in St. Charles Avenue, Louisiana Life and New Orleans Homes and Lifestyles magazines. He is the only person he knows personally who has been interviewed in GQ magazine, albeit for calling Alan Richman a nasty name. He is not proud of that, incidentally. (Yes, he is.)

Robert’s maternal grandmother is responsible for his love of good food, and he has never since had fried chicken or homemade biscuits as good as hers. He developed his curiosity about restaurant cooking in part from the venerable PBS cooking show "Great Chefs" and has an extensive collection of cookbooks, many of which do not require coloring, and some of which have not been defaced.

Robert lives in Mid-City with his wife Eve and their three children, and is fond of receiving comments and emails. Please humor him.

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