Dig Baton Rouge

Ruffino’s Chef Sclafani Returns to New York’s James Beard House

After his critically acclaimed New York City debut last year, Chef Peter Sclafani is now gearing up for his encore, armed with a cache of culinary masterpieces aimed to please Gotham’s most discriminating palates.

The executive chef of Ruffino’s Restaurant in Baton Rouge has been invited to showcase his signature Italian-Creole cuisine once again at the world-renowned James Beard House in New York. As he did last April, Sclafani will return to the elegant private dining venue as the featured visiting chef on Saturday, Sept. 13.

For this spirited feast, Sclafani has planned a five-course contemporary menu with a selection of hors d’oeuvres preceding the seated dinner, all based on Ruffino’s innovative fusion of French Creole and Italian and featuring fresh catch from the Gulf. The lavish menu is based on sumptuous recipes from his debut cookbook, “Seasons of Louisiana.”

As a special treat for their hometown fans, Ruffino’s has scheduled a “James Beard Preview Night” in Baton Rouge next week, for which Chef Peter will be preparing his entire Beard House menu as both a “trial run” and celebration of his latest honor. The dinner is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3, at Ruffino’s Restaurant at 18811 Highland Rd. Reservations for the preview dinner, priced at $120 per person inclusive of wine, tax and tip, may be booked online at RuffinosBatonRouge.com or by calling 225.753.3458.

A third-generation chef, Sclafani is widely regarded as one of the finest and most innovative chefs in Louisiana, if not the entire country. He has won multiple awards, most recently sharing the Louisiana Restaurant Association’s 2014 “Restaurateur of the Year” honors with his partner, Ruffin Rodrigue.

“Cooking for the Beard House marked, in my opinion, the pinnacle of my career. It was something I had dreamed of doing for as long as I can remember and it’s an experience that I will never forget,” said Sclafani, Co-Owner and Executive Chef at Ruffino’s. “I believe that the ‘Creole meets Italian’ cuisine we are creating here at Ruffino’s is unlike anything ever crafted and I am really looking forward to sharing some of these authentic, cross-cultural dishes with the people of New York. I am exceedingly proud to represent Baton Rouge and Louisiana on the most prestigious stage in the American culinary landscape.”

Those interested in attending Chef Sclafani’s featured dinner at the James Beard House may do so at the cost of $130 per person for Foundation members and $170 for the general public. The prix-fixe dinner includes wine and other beverages. There’s no tax. No tipping. Just pure gastronomic pleasure.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled for Peter, and for our restaurants in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, to be invited to the Beard House again. It was just over a year ago when we introduced our signature creations to New Yorkers – clearly they didn’t get enough the first time,” said Rodrigue, who manages the front of the house and operations for the restaurant. “But you don’t have to go to the Big Apple to experience the James Beard menu. Come on by next Wednesday and you’ll get a sneak preview of this world-class evening.”

For details and reservations, call Ruffino’s at 225.753.3458 or visit RuffinosBatonRouge.com.

Driven by its mission “to celebrate, nurture and preserve America’s diverse culinary heritage and future,” the James Beard Foundation is dedicated to exploring the way food enriches our lives. The Foundation maintains the historic James Beard House in Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. A cookbook author and teacher, James Beard was a champion of American cuisine who helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. For more information about the James Beard Foundation’s programs and membership, visit jamesbeard.org.


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