Melvin Rodrigue has dedicated his career to cultivating the tradition and experience of one of America's grandest fine dining institutions - Galatoire's - and showcasing New Orleans as a world-class destination.
A Louisiana native, Rodrigue joined Galatoire’s as their chief operating officer in 1997, rising to the company's presidency in 2012. In that time, he has led Galatoire’s to the highest of culinary distinctions, being recognized in 2005 by the James Beard Foundation as the Most Outstanding Restaurant in the United States.
Working with Galatoire’s ownership group, Rodrigue opened new doors for guests worldwide to take part in Galatoire’s dining tradition in 1998 through an extensive renovation of the venerable restaurant’s second floor dining room, which had been shuttered since World War II. He oversaw Galatoire’s entrance into other markets with the 2005 opening of Galatoire’s Bistro in Baton Rouge. This project resulted in the successful relocation to a newly constructed Bistro location in Baton Rouge, which opened to great fanfare in 2013. This growth continued with the 2012 acquisition and subsequent renovation of 215 Bourbon St., unveiling Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak and new private dining spaces for guests. Both conceived in the Galatoire tradition of fine dining. As part of Galatoire's Centennial in 2005, Rodrigue co-authored the Galatoire's Cookbook to critical acclaim.
Originally appointed in 2005, Rodrigue was named president of the Ernest N. Morial Exhibition Hall Authority by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in 2008. During his leadership, the $650 million New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center increased its reputation as a top location for the nation's premier conventions, special events and meetings, accounting annually for more than $1.5 billion in economic impact and 23,000 jobs.
Rodrigue served as the chairman of the Louisiana Restaurant Association in 2012 and continues his work on the association's Board of Directors. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation and the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau. His previous industry contributions include serving three terms as a board member, executive committee member and treasurer of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, the marketing force behind drawing more than 6 million leisure travelers to New Orleans each year.
Rodrigue has developed new ways for Galatoire's to connect with the community as a founder of The Galatoire Foundation and creating the restaurant's annual Christmas and Mardi Gras Table Auctions. Launched in 2006, this twice-a-year tradition has raised more than $850,000 for The Galatoire Foundation and dozens of New Orleans non-profit organizations, as guests bid to reserve a table in Galatoire's famed first floor dining room on the two busiest days of the year, the Friday before Christmas and Mardi Gras.
Rodrigue has been personally honored by Gambit Weekly as an outstanding achiever in the "40 Under 40" business category and as a member of city's "Power Generation" by New Orleans CityBusiness.
Rodrigue lives in New Orleans and has four daughters, Caroline, Savanah, Eugenie and Adelaide.
As General Manager of Galatoire’s and Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak, Billy Clark is responsible for the daily operations of the 108-year-old dining institution and its steakhouse counterpart. A veteran in the hospitality industry, Clark has prepared for his new role by spending more than 30 years at some of New Orleans’ most successful dining establishments.
Clark is a lifelong resident of New Orleans. He holds a degree from the University of New Orleans and is a graduate of Jesuit High School.
As Executive Chef of Galatoire’s and Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak, Michael Sichel manages two of the largest and busiest fine-dining kitchens in New Orleans, overseeing a staff of more than 30 and preparing the James Beard Award-winning restaurant’s signature dishes.
In addition to his work to date in New Orleans, Sichel has spent more than 13 years honing his cooking skills in Provence, France, and in the kitchens of notable restaurants nationwide including Rubicon with Traci des Jardins in San Francisco and Gotham Bar & Grill with Alfred Portale in New York. Taking his culinary talents internationally, Sichel prepared meals for athletes and their families in the USA House during the 2012 London Olympics.
David Gooch currently serves as manager of Galatoire’s New Orleans. A son of Clarisse Galatoire Gooch and grandson of Leon Galatoire, Gooch began his career in the family business in 1967. He spent four years in the kitchen before moving to the front of the house. Gooch is a lifelong resident of New Orleans. He earned a Bronze Star during a tour of duty in Vietnam where he served as a Combat Engineer Platoon Leader. He holds degrees from Louisiana State University and Tulane University.