Chef John Harris and his staff at Lilette celebrated their tenth year in 2010. He has been a James Beard finalist for Best Chef South in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. He was included in Food and Wine Magazine’s list of America’s Best New Chefs in 2002 and was named Best Chef New Orleans by New Orleans Magazine. In addition, Lilette has been named a Top Ten Best Restaurant five of the last eight years by the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
John began his passion for cooking growing up in the kitchen of his Italian mother. Working in restaurants during college, he couldn’t resist the allure of cooking school. He attended the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute, which would lead him to stints at Café Allegro in Pittsburgh, and Spiaggia in Chicago.
John moved to New Orleans to work as Sous Chef at Bayona in the French Quarter under famed Chef Susan Spicer. While there, Spicer offered him the opportunity to travel to France and apprentice at Amphyclese and Le Pre Catalin — both Michelin rated 2-star restaurants. During this time in France, John lived with the Mauri family, whose matriarch Lilette instilled in him a love of traditional French cooking.
After returning to New Orleans, John became Executive Chef at Gautreau’s Restaurant, then worked with Gerard Maras of Gerard’s Downtown. In December of 2000, John fell in love with the intimate space at 3637 Magazine Street that would soon become Lilette.
In 2010, John brought another vision to splendid fruition with the opening of the much-acclaimed Bouligny Tavern. Located in a century-old New Orleans cottage adjacent to Lilette, Bouligny Tavern combines a sophisticated, mid-century modern environment with a diverse offering of fine wines, classic cocktails and high-end food service featuring a sumptuous small plates menu.
“After being introduced to PacGourmet by a New Orleans chef who worked in SanFrancisco, I have been ordering from them for over 10 years. I consider them to be among our best vendors – in consistency, quality, and professionalism. In the rare event that there was a problem (very rare), its always been handled with the client’s satisfaction as the priority – which shows and produces loyalty alike. And most importantly – I like to deal with companies that have the same employees for years and years – it speaks to them taking care of their people, to a sense of tribe and community, and a place that employees ‘can hang their hat on’. Keep on keeping on.
– John Harris, Chef & Owner of Lilette – New Orleans