Ruffino’s Chef to Showcase Innovative ‘Louisiana Creole Meets Italian’ Cuisine at James Beard House

Ruffino's Chef to Showcase Innovative 'Louisiana Creole Meets Italian' Cuisine at James Beard House
Ruffino’s co-owners Peter Sclafani and Ruffin Rodrigue.

Chef Peter Sclafani to present trademark cooking style on America’s most prestigious culinary stage Sept. 13

Ruffino's Chef to Showcase Innovative 'Louisiana Creole Meets Italian' Cuisine at James Beard HouseAfter his critically acclaimed debut last year, Louisiana-born Chef Peter Sclafani is gearing up for his New York City encore, where he will unveil a new cache of culinary masterpieces based on his signature Creole-Italian cuisine. The innovative style draws from Sclafani’s rich Italian heritage and a lifetime of classic Louisiana-Creole cooking.

The executive chef of Ruffino’s Restaurant in Baton Rouge and Ruffino’s On the River in Lafayette has been invited to share his talents once again at the world-renowned James Beard House in New York City. As he did last April, Sclafani will return to the elegant private dining venue as the visiting chef on Saturday, Sept. 13.

“Cooking for the first time at the Beard House was a true bucket list experience,” said Sclafani. “Now I’m looking forward to presenting something truly original with my ‘Creole meets Italian’ cuisine. It’s an authentic cross-cultural fusion we’ve developed at Ruffino’s that’s unlike anything you’ll find outside our restaurants.”

A third-generation chef from New Orleans, Sclafani is widely regarded as one of the finest and most innovative chefs in Louisiana, if not the entire country. His trademark style blends the best that Louisiana’s waters and farms have to offer with traditional Italian favorites, resulting in a genuinely contemporary and indulgent dining experience.

Ruffino's Chef to Showcase Innovative 'Louisiana Creole Meets Italian' Cuisine at James Beard House
Tuna Tartare Cones

Each item on the James Beard menu – as with everything served at Ruffino’s – starts with a classic Italian dish – “like your mother or grandmother would make” – and is reinterpreted through a Creole lens. It’s a style of cuisine conceived and perfected by Sclafani over the last decade or so.

“In both the Italian and Louisianan cultures, mealtime is about so much more than just the food. It’s about family traditions. It’s about passion, culture and celebration. It’s about the experience,” said Ruffino’s co-owner Ruffin Rodrigue, who entertained last year’s diners with his booming singing voice and down-home story-telling. “The food goes hand-in-hand with the hospitality, the celebration and the gathering of people to make a night truly unforgettable. For us, food is the medium that brings us together to experience all of these great things.”

Sclafani’s five-course contemporary menu for the James Beard House begins with a selection of passed hors d’oeuvres – including Shrimp Corndogs, Corn & Crab Shooters and Tuna Tartare Cones – before proceeding to a seated dinner featuring Sclafani Salad, Pappardelle (handmade pasta with rabbit ragu and chanterelle mushrooms) and Chappapeela Farms Duck, all paired with outstanding wines. The lavish menu draws on sumptuous recipes from his debut cookbook, “Seasons of Louisiana.”

“This menu is especially meaningful to me because it represents the diverse Italian heritage of my family and gives me the opportunity to showcase an entirely new genre of cooking on the most prestigious stage in the American culinary landscape,” said Sclafani. “It’s the food. It’s hospitality. But most importantly, it’s the experience you get when Creole meets Italian.”

Reservations for Chef Sclafani’s September 13 dinner at the James Beard House are available 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.

For information about both Ruffino’s locations, visit

Ruffino's Chef to Showcase Innovative 'Louisiana Creole Meets Italian' Cuisine at James Beard House
Shrimp Corndogs