Ruffino’s Sclafani Tapped to Cook at James Beard House

Ruffino's Sclafani Tapped to Cook at James Beard House

Renowned chef to introduce New Yorkers to signature “French Creole meets Italian” cuisine

Chef Peter Sclafani of Ruffino’s Restaurant in Baton Rouge has been invited to showcase his signature Italian-Creole culinary skills at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City.  Sclafani will be the featured visiting chef on Saturday, April 6th.

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, including “Restaurateur of the Year” by the Louisiana Restaurant Association for an unprecedented two consecutive years; but the invitation to cook at the James Beard House is the consummate career highlight.

“Cooking at the Beard House has been on my bucket list ever since I donned my first chef’s hat,” said Sclafani, Co-Owner and Executive Chef at Ruffino’s.  “I am truly humbled that they have asked me to cook there, and I am exceedingly proud to represent Baton Rouge and Louisiana on the most prestigious stage in the American culinary landscape.”

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 New York City’s 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.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled for Peter, and for our restaurant, to be invited to the Beard House,” said Ruffino’s co-owner Ruffin Rodrigue, who manages the front of the house and operations for the restaurant.  “This is truly an amazing honor, and you can bet Peter will be pulling out all the stops to make April 6th a night that New York City won’t soon forget!”

Sclafani has planned a contemporary, five-course spring menu, with a selection of five hors d’ouevres preceding the seated dinner, based on Ruffino’s signature fusion of Italian and French Creole cuisines and featuring fresh catch from the Gulf:

  • Hors d’Oeuvre
    • Shrimp Corn Dogs
    • Crayfish Arancini
    • Char-Broiled Oysters with Tasso Ham–Garlic Butter
    • Corn and Crab Shooters
    • Grillades and Grits
      • Paired with Mionetto Prosecco NV
  • Dinner
    • Crab Cheesecake
      • Paired with Feudi di San Gregorio Lacryma Christi 2010
    • Heirloom Tomatoes and Hudson Valley Foie Gras Mousse–Filled Burrata with 25-Year-Old Balsamic Caviar Pearls
      • Paired with Michele Chiarlo Le Orme Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2010
    • Braised Mississippi Rabbit with Gnocchi
      • Paired with Jermann Red Angel on the Moonlight 2009
    • Head-to-Toe Pork > Pork Cheeks with Benton’s Bacon Jam, Butternut Squash Purée, and Pork Trotter Tortellini
      • Paired with Ornellaia Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2010
    • Chicory Café au Lait Panna Cotta with Chocolate Chip Beignets
      • Paired with New Orleans Community Coffee

Ruffino's Sclafani Tapped to Cook at James Beard House

Ruffino's Sclafani Tapped to Cook at James Beard House

As a special treat for their loyal guests from across Louisiana, Sclafani and Rodrigue are hosting a “James Beard Preview Night” at Ruffino’s on Wednesday evening, March 27th.  Chef Peter will be preparing his entire Beard House menu as both a “trial run” and a celebration of his latest national honor.  Reservations for the preview dinner, priced at $130 per person, can be booked by calling 225.753.3458.

In addition, a limited number of weekend packages to New York City – including airfare from Baton Rouge, hotel accommodations, a Broadway performance of “Jersey Boys” and Chef Sclafani’s dinner at the James Beard House – are available at a cost of $1,650 per person (reduced rate if traveling as a couple).  For details and reservations, call 225.753.3458.

“As much as we’re looking forward to cooking for a distinguished crowd of New Yorkers, we’d love to bring along a contingent of friendly Louisiana faces to experience this special weekend as well,” said Rodrigue.  “Peter and I promise to Laissez les bons temps rouler in the Big Apple!”

For more information on Ruffino’s, visit

To experience Chef Sclafani’s extraordinary dinner at the James Beard House, call 212.627.2308 during regular business hours.  The prix-fixe dinner is open to the public and includes wine and other beverages. There’s no tax. No tipping. Just pure gastronomic pleasure.

For more information about Foundation programs and membership, visit

Ladd K. Biro
Champion Management LLC