Chef Spotlight: Neal Swidler

May 04, 2015
Broussard's, one of the French Quarter's premiere French and Creole restaurants, is nearing its first centennial anniversary. With the establishment's spectacular physical renovation in 2013, Broussard's continues to offer decadent dining in sophisticated settings amid an alluring ambiance.

In command of the kitchen, Executive Chef Neal Swidler creates memorable culinary experiences for guests with the freshest, finest ingredients available and the knowledge and background acquired over a 20-year career at the executive level in some of the most acclaimed kitchens in the area.

Chef Neal began his career as a teenager in his native Chicago, and then attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York, where he graduated with top honors. A six-month teaching fellowship followed. "My chefs, were the culinary instructors," he noted, one of which was Swidler's mentor, the acclaimed James Beard award-winner Janos Wilder, a chef-proprietor in Tucson, Arizona.

Swidler's career has included 10 years with Emeril Lagasse's New Orleans restaurants, seven years as NOLA head chef and 3 years head chef at Emeril's Delmonico. In addition, he worked with Mike Fennelly at Mike's on the Avenue. Chef Neal has also specialized in concept development, unique start-ups and multi -unit ventures while serving as corporate chef for the JFB Corporation, which operates Juan's Flying Burrito and Slice eateries,

Most recently, he was the chef-owner of the award-winning Lucky Rooster, a pan-Asian restaurant. "I was enjoying getting into Asian food, but then decided to make a radical departure in terms of the direction of my cuisine," he said.

Chef Neal continued, "I looked toward my training in the classics and back to the culinary stylings prepared at Delmonico's. I refocused and refreshed what I was doing, reworking classic dishes as elegant, with approachable flavors and interesting textures, without being stuffy or fussy."

Swidler added, "I liken my preparations to that of a caricature artist, with lots of broad strokes and space for exploration of the flavors and textures between the lines." From an innovative chef's palette, to guests' palates, Swidler's interpretations are that of a true culinary artist.