Off the Menu for Jan. 31, 2013

The team at Ruffino’s Restaurant has had an ambitious start to the new year.

On Jan. 25, the popular Highland Road restaurant announced it will open a Lafayette location in the space occupied by Cochon Lafayette at 921 Camellia Blvd. in River Ranch. The new restaurant will be named Ruffino’s on the River.

This week, the Baton Rouge restaurant is showcasing two of its signature dishes at the Mystick Krewe of Louisianans Mardi Gras celebration in Washington, D.C., and it plans to release executive chef Peter Sclafani’s first cookbook, “The Seasons of Louisiana,” by the end of the year. The cookbook will feature recipes for crawfish, crab, oyster, hunting, fishing and tailgating seasons.

Ruffino’s staff was to serve Louisiana crawfish cheesecake to more than 3,000 people at the Jan. 31 “Louisiana Alive” event as part of the Mardi Gras celebration in Washington. Along with a limited edition run of the cookbook’s first chapter, Ruffino’s also passed out recipe cards.

“We couldn’t think of a better stage to launch the ‘Crawfish Season’ chapter of the cookbook to show the world how great Louisiana is,” Sclafani said.

Sclafani and Ruffino’s co-owner, Ruffin Rodrigue, also served butter-poached Louisiana oysters at the Jan. 30 “Let the World Be Your Oyster” event to promote Louisiana seafood.

Link Restaurant Group, owner of Cochon, announced on Jan. 25 that it would leave the Lafayette market on Feb. 10. Ruffino’s plans to make some architectural design changes to the restaurant’s interior in anticipation of an April grand opening.

An executive chef for the Lafayette location has not been named, spokesman Hunter Territo said.

For more information on Ruffino’s, visit

LRA foundation board

The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation recently announced its 2013 Board of Directors.

The new members are Dwight Barnes, director of public relations at Crescent Crown Distributing in New Orleans; Lucien Gunter, chief executive officer of Acme Oyster House; Octavio Mantilla, co-owner of the establishments within the Besh Restaurant Group; and Peter Sclafani, chef and co-owner of Ruffino’s in Baton Rouge.

Current members of the board are Fabian Castillo, La Casa del Sol, Houma; Helen LeBourgeois, TLC Linen Services, New Orleans; Lenny Raymond, Reinhart Foodservice, Harahan; John Eastman, Auto-Chlor Services, Jefferson; David Hearn, Catfish Cabin, Monroe; Donna Stephenson, ATMOS Energy, Monroe and Yvette Green, University of New Orleans.

The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization that is the philanthropic arm of the Louisiana Restaurant Association.

According to a news release, it “exists to enhance our community through expanded educational and career opportunities, the formation of strategic partnerships and the elevation of the restaurant industry’s professional standards and practices.”

The group also distributes scholarship funds to students pursuing a culinary education, having handed out $80,000.