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Reveillon Dinners for the Holiday Season

Ridgecrest Cooked Beef
As a native New Orleanian who grew up with a passion for food, I thought the holidays would be a fun time to share a time-honored and revered New Orleans tradition—the one that I look forward to each and every year.


The History

New Orleans is a city known for its amazing and influential food, so it seems perfectly appropriate that we would have a thriving restaurant scene during the holidays when the rest of the country is headed to Grandma’s house for the traditional holiday meal. Originating as an old Creole custom, Reveillon, (which means Awakening), was a lavish meal classically served after attending midnight mass on Christmas Eve. A largely Catholic city with a strong French heritage, New Orleans was filled with families who would come home late to a large meal that had been laid out on the dining room table and side boards before they went to mass. The old style meal had several egg dishes, oyster dishes, and grillades of veal, along with tasty soups and stews.


Today's Interpretation

In modern day New Orleans, home-town chefs have put their own spin on the Reveillon meal. The people of New Orleans, from the chefs in the kitchens to the diners at the tables, have a great respect for the culinary history that has made their city famous. And since the cuisine is a such a huge foundation of the city’s culture, the great chefs of New Orleans have embraced and elevated these family traditions. One of my favorite memories of being a chef in New Orleans is that the families out come in droves around the holidays, creating their own family traditions tied to the city’s best restaurants year after year.


The Menu: Awaken Your Palate

The traditional Reveillon menu is prix fixe and has four to five courses. There is usually always a nod to past traditions, showcasing oysters, soups or eggs. Here is an example menu of mine that I did when I was an executive chef in my hometown, the ‘Crescent City’.

First Course: Apple Walnut Stilton Salad with Honey Calvados Dressing

Second Course: Oyster Rockefeller Soup

Third Course:Lobster with Golden Tomato and Pepper Creole Sauce

Fourth Course: Stuffed Filet au Poivre Vert Sauce

Fifth Course: White Chocolate French Custard Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce

Contributed by:
Lonnie Varisco
Center of the Plate Specialist
Performance Foodservice – Caro