Meet Chef Meg
Meet Cafe Adelaide's new Executive Chef, Meg Bickford.
Executive Chef Meg Bickford has always had her heart set on taking over the kitchen at Café Adelaide. When resigning Chef Carl Schaubhut took medical leave in 2014, Chef Meg stepped in to run the place for five months. The result was a lasting bond between the two chefs and an inside glimpse to one day run Café Adelaide’s daily operations. Meg will be the first ever female executive chef for the Commander’s Family of Restaurants.
“We all had our eye on her from the get-go,” shares Commander’s Palace’s Co-Proprietor Ti Adelaide Martin. “She had that sparkle – that love of food and people. And a ‘don’t even think about telling me I can’t do it’ aura about her.”
Meg comes from a family with a father from New Orleans and a mother from “up the Bayou” in Larose, making her a “Cajun Creole Mutt.” After she graduated from the John Folse Culinary School, Commander’s Palace Chef Tory McPhail hired young Meg, hopeful that the skills she learned in school would translate to his fast-paced kitchen. Meg quickly proved to be a budding talent and a force to be reckoned with in a small package. “Meg really knows how to cook,” says Chef Tory. “I saw that from her at a very young age. She’s got fantastic DNA and a great spark. Her cooking style is thoughtful and not flashy, and the dishes she creates manage to blow away your expectations every time.”
Meg worked her way up the hot line and management positions before landing the honored gig as Commander’s Palace’s first-ever female sous chef only one year later. She credits her growth to Chef Tory, Ti Martin, Lally, Dottie and Ella Brennan, and Commander’s Palace’s Sous Chef Chris Barbato, whom Meg calls her mentor. “Meg has been a superstar from early on. Nothing gives us greater pleasure than to be the first to say, ‘Chef Meg.’ We don’t take the word ‘chef’ lightly,” effuses Commander’s Palace Co-Proprietor Lally Brennan.
Putting her own take on Café Adelaide’s signature playful, modern Creole fare is a challenge Meg is primed for. A few of her new menu additions include the Poor Man’s Foie Gras chicken liver pate with blueberry-sherry jelly, house made Boudin beignets, spicy mustard, sourdough bread, and pickled “stuff,” LA Citrus Roasted Gulf Fish with charred endive, red Swiss chard, roasted mushrooms, shaved Brussel sprouts with Louisiana citrus, toasted rye, pomegranate and tart yogurt, and Breakfast at Dinner paneed veal grillades with cane-cured tomato veal jus and black truffle stone-ground grits with a slow cooked egg.
“I can’t wait to apply all of my knowledge and know-how to work as the leader of my own kitchen. I grew up surrounded by great cooks in my family in Louisiana and in the Commander’s kitchen,” says Chef Meg. “I want Café Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar to be a part of the fabric of New Orleans. I want it to be one of the top places you think of with great joie de vivre and food that makes you step back and pay attention. But always in an irreverent, playful way.”
Guests can enjoy Chef Meg’s dishes available now at Café Adelaide.