Meet our Chefs
Twenty five years ago, James Williams never imagined that an oyster would come to define his career. But today he’s grateful to the briny bivalve for bringing him to Tampa Bay.
Williams is the brilliant new Executive Chef at Roux, the regionally acclaimed South Tampa restaurant known for it’s unique blend of Cajun authenticity with Creole Nouvelle flair. He’s writing the next chapter in Roux’s ongoing story of New Orleans meets Florida, and it’s one you won’t want to miss.
"Roux's cuisine is as storied as it is imaginative,” says Chef Williams. “That’s what drew me here. It respects and builds on the flavors of New Orleans in a way that’s uniquely Floridian.”
He should know. A Tallahassee native, Williams’ kitchen foray started as oyster shucker for a Walt Disney World property before graduating up to the kitchens of Commander’s Palace, Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House in New Orleans, and the AAA four diamond rated Bohanan’s Steakhouse in San Antonio. He crafts delicate Eggs Sardou as easily as searing the perfect Pittsburg Blue Akaushi steak. It’s this elegantly balanced dark roux of experience that makes him a natural fit for a regionally-authentic restaurant.
Signature Dishes: Sweet Potato-Andouille Soup, Roasted Root Vegetable, Gulf Seafood Court Bouillon.
Chef Bonnie Breaux of famed Clementine Downtown, successfully showed during her guest chef appearance at Roux in March 2015, only to return in June 2015 to fill the role of Executive Chef. Chef Breaux, a native to Lafayette, is annual competitor in the World Championship Gumbo Cook-Off and has been invited to participate in the Bern Laxer Memorial sanctioned by the James Beard Foundation and additionally representing the Roux team in the 2017 Taste of the Championship - College Football Playoff.
Signature Dishes: Seafood Wellington, Tasso-Coconut Encrusted Shrimp, and her famous take on shrimp & grits — Shrimp Breaux.
"The Cajun Queen," Chef Toni Haynes is an Abbeville, Louisiana native and an LSU Alumnus. As one of the founding chefs at Roux, Chef Haynes generously shares her love and expertise for NOLA. She has contributed many recipes to the Roux menu development, since Roux’s opening in 2014. Chef Haynes realized she was destined for the chef life after watching her father, also a chef, cook for her family. She has owned her own catering business for 35 years, serving Florida, Connecticut, and Wisconsin. Chef Haynes has gone on to write two cookbooks and work as an instructing chef at Berghoff USA.
Signature Dishes: Crawfish Imperial Crepes Spinach Crepe with Shrimp Hollandaise.
Chef Leon Galatoire visited Roux in March 2015 to prepare two exclusive prix fixe meals — marking an iconic launch into the very first brunch in Roux’s history. The Galatoire hosted dinner at Roux included an authentic and creative taste of Creole cooking that. Chef Galatoire is a 2005 James Beard Award winner and fourth-generation member of the founding family of the New Orleans historic restaurant Galatoire’s.
Signature Dishes: Eggs Sardou, Eggplant & Seafood au Gratin, Oysters en Brochette.
Chef David Hale created some spectacular dishes on the whim, for an extraordinary pop-up event, on one of his visits to Tampa. Chef Hale is a New Orleans resident with 20 years of cooking experience as a chef. Chef Hale’s flavor styles range from Sushi to Creole. A graduate of the Culinary Institute Of America.
Signature Dishes: Snapper Oscar & Oysters & Caviar Hale.
Brian Osborne, a Louisiana native, has been honing his home cooking skills for more than 20 years. His love for cooking is matched only by his love of family and LSU Football. While getting his degree at LSU, Brian had many opportunities to host tailgate parties, crawfish boils, and his favorite cochon de lait roasts. He continued education at LSU by attending graduate school to pursue his MBA. As the MBA Association Social Chairman, Brian led the annual Cochon de lait event, A highlight of the school year for students and faculty.
Special: Cochon de lait.
Nancy grew up in Memphis surrounded by southern flavors as the daughter of an 1800's NOLA family in the shipping/tankers business. She moved to NOLA full time in 1983 after graduating from Ole Miss and was adopted by the city and many families. She hung out in the kitchens of her numerous restaurant owning friends and learned more than a few cooking basics alongside very well-known NOLA chefs. She's had a house account at Commander's Palace ever since. Nancy has been a riding member of the Krewe of Muses for over 10 years and remains a regular visitor to NOLA.
Special: Gumbo Z’herbes.