NEW ORLEANS — Tickets are on sale now for the June 23 event celebrating food and wine at Café Normandie, on Magazine Street.
Orin Swift Cellars is providing the wine for the evening. This dinner will include the winery’s “Blank Stare Sauvignon Blanc”, its Mannequin Chardonnay, the Abstract Red Blend, and the rich Palermo Cabernet Sauvignon.
The five-course meal is being prepared by French chef Virgile Brandel whose years of experience in France, Asia, and Florida have left an imprint reflected in his culinary arts.
Brandel brings more than 25 years of culinary experience to The Higgins Hotel. Since 2019, he has been charged with spearheading menu development, culinary innovation, and operations of the various dining outlets, which include the Hotel’s signature restaurant, Café Normandie.
Brandel credits his grandmother with inspiring his culinary pursuits—she owned a restaurant in his hometown of Champagne, France, where he was able to develop basic skills early. He eventually went on to study culinary arts at École Hôtelière en Marne and completed his apprenticeship at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Champagne. Following his apprenticeship, Brandel served as Chef de Tournant at a French and Italian restaurant named Boccaccio in Nice.
Mixing his French heritage with New Orleans flavor, Brandel’s goal is to create menu items that tell the story of how American culinary culture was inspired by the war era. Café Normandie’s seasonally changing menus will include modern takes on traditional French dishes, such as Poulet Normandie and Normand Fricassee, and guests will also find New Orleans Creole-inspired dishes, including a vegetarian Jambalaya and Cajun flatbread.
Café Normandie is located at 1000 Magazine Street, in New Orleans, just steps from the famed WWII Museum.