Chef Shane Pritchett and the Fat Hen Story
Shane Pritchett began his restaurant career in Texas in 1993. As a senior attending Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX, he realized his passion for cooking. He began his career at the finest restaurant in the city and worked his way up to Sous Chef within a year.
In 1996 Shane went to New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, where he graduated at the top of his class . He then accepted a job at the highly awarded Mark Hotel, where he quickly rose to Sous Chef.
It was at The Mark that Shane met renowned Chef Emeril Lagasse, a regular hotel guest while taping his Food Network shows. Emeril realized Shane’s talent and offered him a job at his New Orleans flagship restaurant, Emeril’s. It was during this time, too, that Shane had the opportunity to travel extensively and work abroad, including at The Oriental Hotel in Bangkok Thailand and Le Neptune in Geneva, Switzerland.
At Emeril’s, Shane was promoted to Executive Sous Chef. During his tenure, Shane introduced several brand-building culinary offerings, including an extensive cheese list of forty to fifty artisan cheeses, and an in-house bread program of four to five breads baked in-house daily. These innovations remain on the Emeril’s menu today.
In 2004, Shane Pritchett was named Executive Chef at the elegant and prestigious Emeril’s Delmonico restaurant in New Orleans. While under his tenure, Delmonico was named “The Best Restaurant in New Orleans” (2005), by New Orleans Citybusiness food critic Tom Fitzmorris. He also expanded the menu extensively to include such signature dishes as Whole-Roasted Bronzino and Burrata Mozzarella, and introduced the slow cooking “sous-vide” cooking technique, becoming one of the first New Orleans chefs to do so.
After relocating to other Emeril’s properties post Hurricane Katrina, Chef Shane reopened Delmonico in 2007. Shortly thereafter, he left the property to develop his own concept. Initially, Shane wanted to open a fine dining concept, and yet instead recognized the need for a great BBQ restaurant in New Orleans.
Shane opened the first Harahan location of Fat Hen Grill in May 2009. The space was small and they quickly realized they wanted to better marry Shane’s fine dining skills with the diner all-day-menu concept for a breakfast and BBQ full service restaurant. Fat Hen Grocery then was moved its present, larger Uptown New Orleans location at 7457 St Charles Avenue, where now breakfast, lunch and dinner are served seven days a week, starting at 7:00 a.m.
Fat Hen Grocery is known for great breakfast items, including the signature “Womelette” — a phenomenal waffle-omelet hybrid. And, in tribute to his Texas upbringing, Real Pit Barbeque was added to the menu in 2011. Chef Shane’s influences come from traveling the world and the classic barbecue techniques of regional American barbeque. Chef and his kitchen staff are, what you might call, obsessed with the “low and slow” cooking style, strongly believing that this is the one and only, true way to cook barbeque.
Too, Chef Shane recently became a certified barbecue judge with The Kansas City Barbeque Society and is a member of several other Barbeque Societies. He is currently competing regionally.
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