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The New Commander
Lally Brennan and Ti Martin have announced the man to replace the late Jamie Shannon as executive chef at Commander's Palace (1403 Washington Ave., 899-8221). Tory McPhail grew up in Ferndale, Wash., and graduated from a cooking program at Seattle Community College, moving to New Orleans immediately afterwards. Originally hired by Shannon, McPhail became sous-chef at Palace Cafe (605 Canal St., 523-1661) in 1995. Then, after stints in Florida and London, he opened Commander's Palace Las Vegas as its chef de cuisine. McPhail returned to the New Orleans restaurant last year during Shannon's lengthy fight against cancer. Shannon had reigned over Commander's kitchen since Emeril Lagasse left it in 1990.

Someone Old, Someone New
In another changing-of-guard, Corey Jacobs, most recently the chef at Cafe Hola (135 N. Carrollton Ave., 486-4652), is back in the kitchen at Vaqueros (4938 Prytania St., 891-6441). Jacobs and new proprietor Jason Doyle opened Vaqueros' doors on Tuesday, Jan. 8, with several new menu items, revised margarita recipes and a vow to revitalize the restaurant while keeping prices the same. Tortilla-crusted snapper with tequila beurre blanc and ancho chile-glazed smoked pork chops contribute to the new menu. Before accepting the chef position at Cafe Hola, Jacobs spent seven years cooking at Vaqueros. Doyle opened Maison Bleu (228 Camp St., 571-7500) as a partner to Howard Ferguson last year. There is no replacement for Jacobs at Cafe Hola to date.

Seasonal Cheese
Herbsaint (701 St. Charles Ave., 524-4114) co-owner and general manager Ken Jackson is putting his extensive knowledge of cheese to work. Herbsaint's new cheese board, which will evolve with cheese seasons, availability and his educated tastes, is likely always to include Epoisses, a mild and gooey French cheese matured in Marc de Bourgogne. Chaource and Persille de Tignes, two more French cheeses, also will appear regularly, along with American, Spanish and Italian artisan cheeses. Each cheese selection will be available with Jackson's recommended wine pairing, as well as garnishes from the kitchen.

Market Watch
Catch Foodies Kitchen Uptown (7457 St Charles Ave., 865-8646) Chef Ethan Powell at the Crescent City Farmer's Market at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15. Eric Labouchere, chef at Lucy's Retired Surfer's Restaurant and Bar (701 Tchoupitoulas St., 523-8995), will be the market at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19. The Tuesday market is at 200 Broadway St. and runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Saturday market is at 700 Magazine St. and runs from 8 a.m. to noon. The Thursday market is at 3700 Orleans Ave. and runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Call 861-5898 or visit -- Roahen


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