CHEF JEFFREY HANSELL
For many across the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Katrina was no doubt one of life’s most significant turning points. For Chef to Watch Jeffrey Hansell, the New Orleans kitchen environment in the months following the storm is what solidified his decision to pursue a career as a chef.
“From culinary school I was hired to help reopen Commander’s Palace right after Katrina, which was an unbelievable experience. Seeing people coming together and bringing the city back through food is what made me realize ‘Yes, this is it.’”
The up-and-coming chef, who spent his childhood years fishing every day that he could, cut his teeth under greats like Tory McPhail, Tom Robey (both of Commander’s Palace), and Frank Stitt (of Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, Alabama) before eventually opening Gulf-inspired Southern restaurant Oxlot 9 inside the newly renovated Southern Hotel in Downtown Covington.
With his Northshore location, Jeffrey has access to some of the best seafood and produce in the state. “We pull heavily from the Gulf and surrounding areas. The menu is constantly changing with seasonality, and the availability of produce is just unbelievable. Many of the farms that supply New Orleans are located here on the Northshore, so we’ve got the best of the best.”
The exquisite, hyper-seasonal menu enlivens Covington’s food scene with unexpected combinations of local flavors, including the Roasted Whole Yellowtail Snapper with Mojo, Fried Plantains, and Pickled Fennel Salad.