Terry McDonner will retire as executive chef of Juban’s Creole Restaurant and Caterer, 3739 Perkins Road, this month, but “will continue to work with Juban’s on a consulting basis as we look into other aspects of the food and beverage business,” said Michael Boudreaux, president and co-proprietor of Juban’s Restaurant Inc.

McDonner told management and the Juban family in January he planned to retire, according to Scott Callais, general manager of Juban’s, and a national search was launched to find his successor.

Jamie Hernandez has assumed the executive chef position, Boudreaux said. Hernandez, who joined the restaurant’s staff in March, was selected from among more than 50 applicants.

Hernandez, a Baton Rouge native, previously was executive chef at Primo’s Restaurant and spent five years with Tropical Events Group on St. Thomas Island. He also has worked with chef Deiter Illig at the Corporate Hilton in Baton Rouge and at Gino’s Restaurant.

Callais said Hernandez has “a very solid background and history of Creole and Cajun cuisine. You’ll begin to see some very innovative new items on our menu, keeping the faith of Louisiana cuisine but with a bit more flair and perspective.”

McDonner joined Juban’s in 1996 after working for chef John Folse at Lafitte’s Landing Restaurant near Donaldsonville and White Oak Plantation in Baton Rouge for 10 years.

In an interview published in The Advocate’s Food section on Dec. 23, McDonner said he didn’t get into cooking until late in his 20s. He worked for several years as an electrician before being hired by Folse. He started in the pantry and worked his way through all the restaurant’s stations. After five or six years, he was named executive chef at Lafitte’s Landing.

“I congratulate and commend Chef Terry on his service and dedication to Juban’s Restaurant and our community as I look forward to a continuing working relationship with him on new endeavors,” Boudreaux said. “This is an exciting time for us as we welcome chef Hernandez to our Juban family.”

Monroe chef heads to national cook-off

NEW ORLEANS ? A Monroe chef will represent Louisiana in the seventh annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off this summer after winning the state cook-off on Saturday.

Cory Bahr, 34, executive chef of Restaurant Sage, 1301 N. 19th St., Monroe, won first place in the Louisiana Seafood Cook-off hosted by the Louisiana Seafood Board.

Bahr, assisted by sous chefs Spencer Serrette and Chris McKnight, prepared a dish called North Delta Bouillabaisse. It featured Gulf of Mexico oysters, lump crabmeat, shrimp, black drum, andouille sausage, yellow and red teardrop tomatoes, green kale and chanterelle mushrooms.

“We do like all great restaurants ? try to get as much local products as possible,” Bahr said after being crowned “King of Louisiana Seafood.”

Diana Chauvin, executive chef of La Thai Uptown in New Orleans, assisted by Katie Brackvitch, took second place. Third place went to a husband-and-wife team ? chef Keith Frentz, assisted by Nealy Frentz ? of Lola restaurant in Covington.

Austin Harrell, executive chef of Mansur’s on the Boulevard in Baton Rouge, was among the chefs competing in the cook-off. It was part of festivities at the Saturday Grand Tasting which wrapped up the five-day New Orleans Wine & Food Experience.