Our Culinary Team
Chef de Cuisine - Daniel Causgrove
After graduating from St. Lawrence University with a degree in English and Environmental Studies, the Syracuse-native began working in kitchens, realizing that the combination of mental, physical and artistic qualities suited him nicely. He spent time honing his skills in French cuisine and fine dining in New York City restaurants such as Le Cirque and Café des Artistes.
Since moving to New Orleans in 2007, Causgrove has been exploring the city’s unique cuisine and culture. He has worked locally at Cochon and as sous chef at La Petite Grocery. During his time at La Petite Grocery the restaurant was awarded four beans and named a top ten restaurant in New Orleans by the Times-Picayune. In September 2012, he became executive chef of Dijon and was named a Chef to Watch by Louisiana Cookin’ magazine for 2013.
“Southern Creole and Cajun cooking is the only true American cuisine,” Causgrove says. “People across racial, ethnic, socioeconomic backgrounds are eating this food. What I am trying to achieve is developing a style of Louisiana cooking that is refined and rooted in local ingredients by taking everyday foods and transforming them.”
While The Grill Room’s culinary philosophy is to provide guests with “contemporary Southern” dishes, Daniel would also like to experiment with and elevate traditional Louisiana dishes that may have been forgotten, while incorporating locally sourced ingredients and plating and presenting in a natural way.
In his spare time, Daniel can be found at home practicing forest gardening, a low-maintenance sustainable plant-based food production and agroforestry system based on woodland ecosystems, or coming up with new recipes and approaches to breakfast foods.
PASTRY CHEF - SHUN LI
Shun Li graduated from the prestigious Johnson & Wales University with a focus in Baking and Pastry. He began honing his pastry skills while working at the Grande Lakes Resort Ritz Carlton & JW Marriott under World Pastry Cup Team USA Winner Chef Laurent Lhuillier. Shun then moved on to be the Assistant Pastry Chef at the Charleston Place Hotel and the Executive Pastry Chef at Sienna Restaurant. Chef Shun joined The Grill Room team in 2008.
Chef’s Shun’s many accolades include a mention in the New York Times by the late Johnny Apple and a Best Tasting Cake Award for the Abe Lincoln 200th Birthday Cake Competition sponsored by the Southern Food & Beverage Museum. Chef Shun was also instrumental in Sienna Restaurant’s designation as Esquire Magazine’s Best New Restaurant.
SOMMELIER – JOHN MITCHELL
John Mitchell discovered his love for wine while working at McCrady’s Tavern and Long Room in Charleston, South Carolina and in January of 2007, he received his Sommelier certificate through the Court of Master Sommelier.
Prior to moving to New Orleans, Mitchell worked at the award-winning, Charleston Grill, in the Charleston Place Hotel, a then sister hotel of the Windsor Court. There, he refined his skills in management and wine-pairing, and grew his appreciation for French cuisine and wine. In 2008, Mitchell relocated to New Orleans where he could be an integral part of the team who propelled The Grill Room back to its renowned status after Hurricane Katrina, with a revamped wine program.
Most recently, Mitchell was the Wine Director at Stella!, where his team was awarded the Distinguished Restaurants of North America award four years in a row. During his tenure, Stella! was named one of Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wine Restaurants in the U.S. and Mitchell was named Star Chefs’ Rising Sommelier in 2012.
Head Bartender - Roger Blais
This year Roger Blais will be celebrating his 20th anniversary at The Polo Club Lounge. Roger counts among his many accolades a designation on Travel + Leisure’s 2009 List of the World’s Greatest Bartenders. He was also pictured creating his signature Sazerac cocktail in The New York Times.
Roger Blais has mixed cocktails at many famous haunts including Studio 54 and Tavern on the Park at City Park. In 1994, the manager of The Grill Room called to ask Roger to mix his wonderful and creative libations at The Polo Club Lounge. The Polo represented Roger’s dream job – the staff, the guests and his obligation of providing the best cocktails in New Orleans finest setting.