Melvin Rodrigue, president and CEO of Galatoire’s Restaurant and Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak in New Orleans and Galatoire’s Bistro in Baton Rouge, is the Louisiana Restaurant Association 2015 Restaurateur of the Year.
Other LRA honorees include chef John Folse, 2015 Hall of Fame Inductee; Brian Girardot, brand support manager of Community Coffee, 2015 Associate Member of the Year; Rep. Cedric Richmond, 2015 Advocate of the Year.
Rodrigue joined Galatoire’s as chief operating officer in 1997. During his time at Galatoire’s, the restaurant was named by the James Beard Foundation as the Most Outstanding Restaurant in the United States and he also oversaw an extensive renovation of Galatoire’s and the expansion of the brand. Rodrigue served as LRA chairman in 2012 and has been on the board of directors for 13 years. He also serves as president of the Ernest N. Morial Exhibition Hall Authority, the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation.
He was recently re-elected to the board of directors of the National Restaurant Association.
Folse — founder of the John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University and a partner in Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans and Seafood R’evolution in Ridgeland, Mississippi — “has long been considered one of the most influential chefs in Louisiana,” a news release says.
He opened his first restaurant, Lafitte’s Landing in Donaldsonville in 1978 and White Oak Plantation in 1986 before opening the culinary institute in 1994.
Folse has written nine cookbooks; created a television series, “A Taste of Louisiana;” and opened a manufacturing plant.
Girardot is recognized as a supplier “who exemplifies dedication to the LRA’s mission.” He is a member of the LRA board of directors and serves on the LRA Northshore Chapter board of directors.
Richmond “has always worked closely with the LRA Advocacy team to promote good public policy,” a news release says. Richmond serves on the House Committee on Homeland Security and the House Committee on the Judiciary.