At a New Orleans culinary battle, three BR chefs come out on top 

A trio of Baton Rouge chefs went to a burger cook-off in New Orleans and won, big time. 

On May 10, Sean Rivera, of Driftwood Cask & Barrel; Ryan Andre, of City Pork Brasserie & Bar; and Sydney Harkins, of Noble Wave, teamed up for the Blended Burger Battle at Central City BBQ. The event is part of the James Beard Foundation's Culinary Fight Club

During last week's competition, chefs had one hour to create a beef and mushroom-blended burger. The trio's burger was made with shiitake and king oyster mushrooms, poblano peppers, charred jalapeños and bacon. And that burger won the people's and judge's choice awards. 

"It was a humbling experience," Rivera said. "We didn't expect to win. It was a good feeling to know that we were putting in hard work, and we were able to outshine the big boys."

But the event wasn't without its difficulties. With only 45 seconds to get their desired ingredients, the trio had to adapt and rewrite its recipe because it couldn't get all the essentials. 

"I had a list, and I ended up getting four items," Andre said. 

"It was definitely insanity," Harkins said. "It taught me that you can plan however much you want, but it all goes out the window when the timer starts."

When all was said and done, the trio won $300 and an invitation to compete in November at the World Food Championships in Orange Beach, Alabama. 

"That's the Olympics," Rivera said of the upcoming food competition. 

"It's one of the biggest food competitions of the year," Andre said. 

No matter what happens next, Harkins said the New Orleans burger battle was a great experience. 

"The beauty of it was we all had confidence in each other," she said. "We knew it was going to be great no matter what curve balls were thrown our way. It was instant decision-making, teamwork and throwing together stuff at the last minute with the skills you have. It was an awesome experience." 

Now open: Rock n Roll Sushi

If you like the combination of sushi and classic rock hits, you'll want to visit Rock n Roll Sushi

The restaurant recently opened its first Baton Rouge location. Franchisee Chip Burr said its soft-opening phase has been going well and word-of-mouth business has been trickling in. 

"We are getting fantastic reviews on the food," Burr said. 

The restaurant is located at 7949 Jefferson Highway, Suite A. Business hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 

The 2,300-square-foot restaurant features classic rock decor. The menu has "opening acts" appetizers, "classic rock" rolls (think tuna avocado and spicy tuna rolls), and "headliners" such as the KISS Roll (shrimp tempura topped with crabmeat, eel sauce, spicy mayo and crunchy flakes) and the Pearl Jam Roll (with yellowtail, albacore tuna and spicy mayo, topped with red tuna, crabmeat and eel sauce). Other bands with their own sushi rolls include the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Journey and Metallica. 

Another Baton Rouge location is already in the works in the Acadian Perkins Plaza Shopping Center, next to Burgersmith. That location is smaller, at about 1,700 square feet. Burr said he didn't want to project when it might open. 

Burr said he is also working on other Rock n Roll Sushi locations of interest, but couldn't comment where they might go. 

For more information on Roll n Roll Sushi, visit

Sake Sushi coming soon 

A new sushi restaurant is coming to the intersection of Perkins Road and Essen Lane. 

Sake Sushi has taken over the former location of Lasseigne's American Grill at 7520 Perkins Road. An opening date has not yet been set. 

Lasseigne's closed in November after 10 months in business. The site has also housed Frankie Marcello's and Calendar's. 

Upcoming food events you can't miss: 

  • Matherne's Market Downtown, 440 N. Third St., hosts a wine dinner at 7 p.m. Friday, featuring five courses with wines from Argentina and Spain. The menu features gazpacho, tropical chicken salad, Kathy's famous Mediterranean potpie, prime filet mignon grilled to order and chocolate silk pie. Cost is $70 plus tax. Get more information by calling (225) 343-0600 or visiting
  • The Greater Baton Rouge Bartenders Guild hosts Split Decision at 7 p.m. Sunday at Splash Nightclub, 2183 Highland Road. The event features four bartenders and four mixologists competing for the title of Brown-Forman's Best. Competitors will create specialty cocktails using the Brown-Forman lineup, which includes Jack Daniel's, Woodford Reserve and Chambord, among many others. Tickets are $10 online, $15 at the door. Get more information at
  • Don't forget to check out chef Eusebio Gongora II, of Southfin Southern Poké and City Pork Hospitality Group. The Baton Rouge chef will compete on Food Network's "Chopped" on Tuesday. City Pork Brasserie & Bar, 7327 Jefferson Highway, hosts a viewing party from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Get more information at
  • Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar hosts a beer dinner at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The five-course event pairs oyster-centric dishes with beers from Broussard's Parish Brewing. $45 for food only, $60 for pairing. For more information and reservations, call (225) 615-7172. 

Follow Matthew Sigur on Twitter, @MatthewSigur.