Phillip L. Lopez is the Executive Chef, Creative Director and Owner of REBEL Restaurant Group in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was the son of an Army family and spent his childhood living in Germany and traveling through France, Spain, Austria, Holland, India and parts of Asia. He began his culinary career in Virginia while still in high school. After working for some of the best chefs in South East Virginia, Phillip decided to move back to his birthplace of New Orleans in 2004. He landed his first culinary job in New Orleans with Chef John Besh. Being displaced to Washington, D.C. following Hurricane Katrina gave Lopez the opportunity to train under Chef Michel Richard, the highly celebrated culination behind Citronelle. Returning to New Orleans several months later, Phillip again joined Besh and eventually worked and managed five of his restaurants rising the rands to become John Besh's Project Chef, including Restaurant August, La Provence, LÜKE, and American Sector at the National World War II Museum. In 2010 Lopez then became the Executive Chef of Restaurant Rambla, a modern style restaurant with French and Spanish influences.
After being immersed and learning within the restaurant industry from the previous 17 years starting at age 14 and significant experience under his belt, Lopez opened ROOT in November 2011 to much acclaim. ROOT was named one of Bon Appétit's 50 Best New Restaurants; it was awarded "Best New Restaurant" by New Orleans Magazine; received the "So Hot Right Now" Eater Award for New Orleans; and earned an astonishing 4-Bean reviewby the Times Picayune, all before the first anniversary. ROOT and Chef Lopez have been featured in Southern Living, Fodor's Travel, Forbes, Wall Street Journal and FOOD & WINE, as well as many local and regional publications.
In 2014, Square Root opened in the heart of the trendy Lower Garden District neighborhood of New Orleans. Square Root centers around a reservation only contemporary Chef's table kitchen design, in which modern culinary techniques are the main attraction. As a progressive force for new ideas in food preparation, techniques, textures, and service Chef Phillip's concept behind Square Root earned him a pre-opening mention in Condé Nast Traveler and another 4-Bean review by the Times Picayune in 2015. Within that same year, Chef Lopez also developed the Test Kitchen space which sits adjacent to Square Root on the second floor . The space's primary focus is a research and development kitchen for all the chefs to explore but also provides a private dining space for fun casually elegant private dining events.
The year of 2016 & 2017 saw tremendous growth for Chef Phillip Lopez opening a modern Parisian bistro called Petit Lion within the Troubadour Hotel as well as the Monkey Board located on the rooftop of the same hotel.
Lopez has also been honored with numerous awards--the 2012 Eater Awards for New Orleans named Chef Phillip "Chef of the Year," StarChefs named him on of its "Rising Star Chefs" in 2012, Louisiana Cookin Magazine named him a "Chef to Watch," in 2011, New Orleans' Gambit Weekly honored Chef Lopez within their "40 under 40" list in 2015, and most recently OPA named Square Root & Chef Lopez within the top 50 Best restaurants in the country in 2016,
Photographer: Marianna Massey