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 - Sara Kavanaugh
A native of Shreveport, Sara Kavanaugh joined The Grill Room in Fall 2008. Her vast knowledge of wine growing techniques, regions, storing and grape varieties, as well as her extensive travels through European wine regions enables her to create astute pairings to the creative dishes of The Grill Room.
From a young age, Sara exhibited an exceptional interest in food. Sara earned her degree in Culinary Arts and Food Beverage Management from Johnson and Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina, then proceeded to earn her wine certification at the prestigious German Sommelier School in Koblanz, Germany. Sara is also a certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommelier, a designation she received in January 2007. Before coming to The Grill Room, Sara was the Assistant Sommelier to Rick Rubel at Charleston Place, where she was in charge of a $550,000 wine cellar.
Head Bartender - Roger Blais
Roger Blais will be celebrating his 17th anniversary at The Polo Club Lounge in 2011. 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.