Beloved, Renowned Local Restaurant Names Distinguished Culinary Team

NEW ORLEANS, LA (May 4, 2011) – The Omni Royal Orleans  announces that Rene Bajeux has been named Executive Chef of the Rib Room and Paul Pinnell as its General Manager. These exciting and much anticipated additions to the team signify the importance of the celebrated Rib Room within the New Orleans culinary scene. Pinnell is already in place at the restaurant, and Chef Bajeux will take the lead in the kitchen on May 21, 2011. Their arrival will be jointly celebrated on Wednesday, May 25 by hosting a vintner dinner in partnership with Trinchero Winery as part of the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience. Chef Rene and his team, Sous Chefs Dwayne Butler and Kyle Gibbs, will begin showing off their well-honed culinary skills in re-creating a menu that honors 50 years of dining excellence, while setting the stage for The Rib Room’s next evolution - maintaining its spirit of excellence and tradition while also ensuring that the restaurant is relevant in regard to cuisine, ambiance and décor.

Born and raised in Alsace-Lorraine, France, Chef Bajeux returns to New Orleans after a two and a half year stint in San Antonio, TX and luxury resorts in St. Maarten and Anguilla. The critically acclaimed chef originally came onto the New Orleans culinary scene as the Executive Chef of the Windsor Court Hotel’s Grill Room. He later opened Rene Bistrot, located in the Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel, where he served up authentic French cuisine. When Chef John Besh purchased the beloved La Provence restaurant in Lacombe, Bajeux was tapped to join Besh as chef/partner to oversee the restaurant’s farm-to-table concept. Since entering the fine dining world more than 30 years ago, Bajeux has garnered numerous accolades, including Esquire magazine’s “Best New Restaurants,” “Chef of the Year” from the American Tasting Institute and inclusion among “America’s Top Tables,” from Gourmet magazine. He has hosted numerous dinners at The James Beard House in New York City and was designated “Outstanding Member, 1997-2000” by The James Beard Foundation.

A native of Dallas, TX, Paul Pinnell joins the Rib Room with more than three decades of experience in fine dining management. A seasoned professional, Pinnell most recently operated his own wine bar and restaurant in Dallas, TX, which was rated Four Stars by the Dallas Morning News, #1 Dallas Dining Destination by Texas Monthly and was featured in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine and Travel + Leisure. Pinnell was also employed as the Maitre ‘d and Manager of Laurel’s Restaurant in the Sheraton Park Central Hotel and Café Royal Restaurant in the Plaza of the Americas Hotel and was the Manager of the Mobil Four-Star and AAA Four Diamond Nana Restaurant in Dallas.

"We are ecstatic to welcome Chef Rene and Paul to the Rib Room team,” said Steve Ferran, general manager of the Omni Royal Orleans. “Both are accomplished, well-respected professionals with impeccable credentials who are ideally suited to uphold the Rib Room's high standards. Their expertise in fine dining, unparalleled work ethic and progressive vision will be evident in every aspect of the Rib Room's dining experience from extraordinary cuisine to exceptional service," he added.

About the Rib Room at the Omni Royal Orleans

The Rib Room and the Omni Royal Orleans were originally the creation of a group of prominent New Orleans businessmen. The location previously served as the site of the landmark St. Louis Hotel, where the phrase “free lunch” was inaugurated - a custom established in the hotel’s bar to help provide nourishment to noontime imbibers. To distinguish itself from the existing "Grand Dames" of New Orleans French Quarter restaurants, the Rib Room focused its menu on hearty beef dishes, catering to a predominantly male clientele. Although menu and dining trends have changed over the years, Prime Rib has remained the Rib Room’s "Tour de Force" among loyal patrons representing the city’s business, social and political elite as well as a host of celebrities who have dined at this famous New Orleans eatery including The Rolling Stones, Lenny Kravitz and Nicholas Cage, to name a few.

The Zagat-rated Rib Room, celebrating its 50th anniversary, boasts an exceptional wine list, premium cocktails, outstanding service, opulent décor and grand windows for the best people watching in town. The Rib Room is open daily from 6:30am to 10pm. For more information, visit .

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