FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Chef Michael Farrell of Le Meritage Named a Chef to Watch by Louisiana Cookin' Magazine

May 4 2009 | Dining


Media Contact: Jyl Benson, Publicist

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Chef Michael Farrell of Le Meritage Named a Chef to Watch by

LouisianaCookin' Magazine:

Eighth Annual Award Ceremony to be Held in August


NEW ORLEANS, LA, May 4, 2009 – Wow, that was quick! After less than two months in the kitchen Chef Michael Farrell of Le Meritage has attracted the attention of Louisiana Cookin’ magazine’s network of foodies throughout the state to be named one of five up-and-coming talented chefs to watch. Chefs are chosen for their talent, skill and ability to produce menus full of fresh, innovative takes on traditional Louisiana ingredients.

            “We are very excited about Chef Farrell, said Susan Ford, Publisher

of Louisiana Cookin’ magazine. “What he is doing is just right for right now. “

The Chefs to Watch program donates thousands of dollars to Café Reconcile, the nonprofit organization which trains at-risk youth to lead productive lives through culinary education and job placement. The money is raised through a dinner at which each chef contributes a course. This year the dinner will take place at the end of August. Chef Farrell’s Grilled Pork Filet with Fig Compotehas been chosen as the entrée for the dinner.


Chefs to Watch will be featured in the July/August edition of the nationally-distributed magazine and on the magazine’s website, Make reservations for the event by calling Louisiana Cookin’ at 504.482.3914, ext, 205 or 888.884.4114, ext. 205 or visit



Michael Farrell, Executive Chef, Le Meritage


Michael Farrell hails from central Virginia, the youngest of  Diana and Tom Farrell’s five children. Growing up,  he observed with awe as his mother carefully planned and shopped   for thefrequent dinner and cocktail parties she and Tom hosted at their home.  Diana was very deliberate in her china, cutlery, flowers and wine  choices. The Farrell’s were known throughout their circle as gracious and gifted hosts.   


“I learned from watching my parents entertain,” Farrell said. “It is in the smallest of gestures that the gap is bridged, from ordinary dining to extraordinary dining.


Of course it is the food,” he said. “But it is also the shade of the flowers, the


Page 2, Michael Farrell


texture and fragrance of a fresh herb, the placement of a napkin, a warm welcome upon arrival.”

His mother taught him well. Michael started working in profeesional kitchens at the age of fifteen, and never looked back.  Over twent-five years later he has been recognized by among many others, DiRoNA, Wine Spectator, Zagat and Bon Appetite, in a career that has taken him across the United States.


 He has served in a variety of prominent positions including Owner and Executive Chef of Nantucket’s  Summer House. Executive Chef of Colorado astablishments such as Beano’s Cabin and Saddle Ridge in Beaver Creek and Castle Pines.  Chef Farrell also opened Anthem Country Club in Las Vegas.


In January 2009, that same warm welcome Chef Farrell is careful to share, was extended to him in New Orleans when he took the lead as Executive Chef of Le Meritage at the Maison Dupuy Hotel.  His wifeGina Ciolino, is a native New Orleanian with strong family ties to the community.  Despite the success Michael had honing his talents through different culinary opportunities, His wife Gina,like a true child of New Orleans, was ready to come home to build a life for their daughter.  With a passion for food and entertaining and desire to make his own mark in a city he had always loved, Michael was only too eager to oblige.


While embracing New Orleans,  Chef Farrell is free to indulge his lifelong zeal for the Southern foods he grew up with on his parents’ Virginia horse farm. With his Pan Roasted Red Drum with Fried Green Tomatoes andSuccotash, he opens a door to a childhood spent picking fresh vegetables in a garden, hunting quail and grouse and fishing in the streams and lakes of the Blue Ridge Mountains. His Molasses Pork Tenderloin served with Braised Beet Greens and Duck Breast with Foie Gras, Fig Compote and Butter Potatoes also claim their origins well below the Mason-Dixon Line.


He refers to his food as Southern Coastal Cuisine.


There is a formula, he says, by which a chef may arrive at his or her personal culinary vision: “You bring together all the things you grew up loving,  all of the things you have been taught, and all of the things you have in front of you in abundance. From this collection of influences, you make something wonderful.


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