Since it opened in 2010, Sylvain has grown into an indispensable eatery in the French Quarter, one that’s modern, middle range, stylish and also filled with a local sense of place. Chef Martha Wiggins has been part of the Sylvain equation from the start, but now she’s moving on to explore other paths.
In a statement, Robért LeBlanc, proprietor of Sylvain, said Wiggins would step down and take some time to travel. Local chef Ben McCauley will take over her position as executive chef.
Wiggins, a native of Washington, D.C., was part of the opening staff at Sylvain and quickly rose to sous chef. She has been executive chef here since 2014.
“I am saddened to no longer be working with Martha on a daily basis,” LeBlanc wrote. “We literally grew up in this hospitality industry together, and she has been instrumental in leading Sylvain to become the restaurant it is today, of which we are all very proud. I am also very happy for Martha. She sacrificed a great deal to make Sylvain the place that it is today, and I am glad that she will be able to take some time for herself. I am also hopeful for what Martha will do next, which I hope will be here in New Orleans.”
Sylvain has earned a following by pairing its evocative old French Quarter ambiance with a casually contemporary style. Wiggins’ menus worked beautifully fresh and seasonal local groceries through the lens of the gastropub.
LeBlanc indicated some Sylvain menu staples would remain in place, while McCauley “will be encouraged to express his culinary vision for what the next chapter of Sylvain’s story will taste and feel like.” McCauley joins Sylvain after cooking at Domenica and Petit Lion in New Orleans and Underbelly in Houston.
Sylvain is part of LeBlanc + Smith, a local hospitality company that also runs Meauxbar in the French Quarter and Cavan and Barrel Proof on different stretches of Magazine Street. This spring, the company is slated to open Longway Tavern in the French Quarter, at 719 Toulouse St.
625 Chartres St., (504) 265-8123