Chef Megan “Meg” Bickford has called the Commander’s Palace kitchen her culinary home since
June 2008 and took on the role of Executive Chef at the New Orleanians’ destination for leading edge
Haute Creole cuisine in October 2020. With over 12 years of experience with the Commander’s Family of Restaurants, Chef Meg previously served as the Executive Chef of Cafe Adelaide, the Commander’s family’s playful, modern Creole restaurant. In her time at the helm of Café Adelaide, Meg was chosen as one of FSR Magazine’s “Rising Stars” and one of Louisiana Cookin’s “Chefs to Watch.” Chef Meg takes over the kitchen after Chef Tory McPhail, who served as Executive Chef for 18 years.
Chef Meg comes from a family with a father from New Orleans and a mother from “down the Bayou” in Larose, so both Cajun and Creole influences run in her blood. As Commander’s Palace is the kitchen where Cajun and Creole crashed for the first time in the 1970’s with Paul Prudhomme and Ella Brennan, Chef Meg and her Creole and Cajun influences are in the perfect position at the helm of the kitchen. Meg knows the flavors of New Orleans and Louisiana as well as she knows the flavors of Commander’s Palace after years of working her way up the ranks. After she graduated from the John Folse Culinary Institute, Commander’s Palace hired young Meg, hopeful that the skills she learned in school would translate to the fast-paced kitchen. Meg quickly proved to be a budding talent and worked her way up the hot line and management positions.
“Meg has always been a spitfire in the kitchen, a ball of energy with eyes darting about, seeing and learning everything,” shares Commander’s Co-Proprietors Ti Martin and Lally Brennan. “She is small but mighty and has the complete respect of our entire kitchen and restaurant. There is a sparkle in her eye and magic in those hands.”
A few of Chef Meg’s menu additions include Miso & Sugarcane Shrimp Coated Redfish; with spicy chilis, lemongrass, shaved mirliton, ripped mint and lime, Dirty Duck Confit served with a sweet citrus and sour orange pepper jelly over Louisiana heirloom pumpkin au gratin, roasted apple salad, white bean crisp and “dirty” andouille duck jus, and Jumbo Lump Crab Stuffed Crab; featuring a
Pontchartrain blue crab shell overstuffed with chilled Louisiana jumbo lump, crisp fennel, mirliton, Louisiana citrus & tarragon infused olive oil, Cajun caviar-crab fat aioli and hand pounded filé gremolata.
“For me, the future seems hidden in the past. Studying New Orleans and Louisiana cooking inspires me to see where the past can intersect with the future. The possibilities seem endless,” shares Chef Meg. “I want to dive deeper into all the influences on our cuisine. Creole cuisine has always and should always evolve, and our team gets excited about different flavors and ingredients that are shaping cuisine all over Louisiana right now. We are not about standing still. I am eager to keep moving it forward with the Commander’s team.”
Chef Meg is a mother to Stella and on her days off can be found at large family gatherings with Stella and husband Richard in tow in Cut Off, Louisiana where food is the center of life. Cooking outdoors for gatherings for 20 to 100 are the norm with seafood usually at center stage. Her summers growing up were spent fishing at her uncle’s camp in Fourchon and all over South Louisiana. After cooking school at the John Folse Culinary Institute, Meg counts her mentors as her mom and dad, Dale and Ora Ordoyne, Tory McPhail, Chris Barbato, Uncle Carl, Kenny Meyer, Ti Martin, Ella, Lally, and Dottie Brennan.