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Local restaurateur, alumnus named Best Chef Legend of Louisiana

March 22, 2013

The American Culinary Federation of New Orleans honored Loyola University New Orleans mass communication alumnus Xavier Laurentino ’92, chef and restaurateur of the local hotspot Barcelona Tapas, as one of five named Louisiana’s Best Chef Legends of 2013. Laurentino will join the ranks of other prestigious and legendary chefs when the federation honors him at the Best Chefs of Louisiana Awards April 8 at Generations Hall in New Orleans.

A native of Barcelona, Spain, Laurentino moved to the United States at 26 and put himself through school at Loyola. While pursuing his bachelor’s degree, he worked on student plays with the theatre department. That dedication to the arts carried through after graduation, and following a brief stint as a metal sculptor, Laurentino began his culinary arts career in 1994. After assisting others with their restaurant endeavors for several years, Laurentino finally opened his own place, Laurentino’s, in 2002. Despite a loyal clientele, the restaurant suffered a series of setbacks after Hurricane Katrina and eventually closed.

In 2010, after scouting a new location and undertaking extensive renovations, Laurentino opened Barcelona Tapas at 720 Dublin Street in New Orleans. The popular Riverbend eatery is celebrated for its authentic Spanish fare, welcoming ambiance and most importantly, its legendary chef.

Each year, the American Culinary Federation selects the region’s most notable culinary professionals to participate in the event, which includes 25 other regional chefs selected as Best Chefs of Louisiana. Laurentino was a Best Chef in 2012. In addition to the awards ceremony, the three-hour celebration includes Best Chef signature dishes, custom beverages and live entertainment. Proceeds benefit the organization’s scholarship program, Children’s Hospital and The International School of Louisiana.

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Loyola at a Glance is written and distributed for the faculty, staff, students and friends of Loyola University New Orleans. It is published by the Office of Public Affairs, Greenville Hall, Box 909, 7214 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118. (504) 861-5888.

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