Michael Stoltzfus opened Coquette in December of 2008 in the Garden District and thrives on designing personalized tastings menus for guests and creating a menu that changes daily. His inspired cooking has earned his restaurant a spot on the Times-Picayune’s New Orleans Top Ten Restaurant List and Stoltzfus has been named a semi-finalist in the prestigious James Beard “Best Chef in the South,” award for the past four years. Kristen Essig proudly joined the Coquette family in 2016 as co-chef and partner to Michael. Prior to that, the Florida native kicked off her Crescent City culinary career with Chef Emeril Lagasse at Emeril’s. She’s been named one of Coastal Living Magazines “5 Coastal Chefs to Watch” (2015), nominated as one of Food & Wine Magazine’s “The People’s Best New Chef” (2015), and one of Times Picayunes Chefs to Watch (2014).
Although he grew up on a 140 acre working dairy farm on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and enjoyed the freshest products available, Stoltzfus never imagined a career in the culinary industry.
Fate or perhaps his mother’s intuition steered him in a fortuitous direction, when a couple of weeks before he was to begin college, his mother decided to open a bakery and enlisted Stoltzfus’ help in running it. Although he knew little more than how to scramble an egg, Stoltzfus found himself cooking breakfast and lunch at the family owned restaurant.
While working at the family bakery, Stoltzfus embarked on his personal culinary adventure, purchasing a variety of cookbooks and began cooking and experimenting at home. At 25 years old, after working at a few restaurants in Maryland, his talents were evident and he was hired to work at New Orleans’ esteemed Restaurant August, where six months later he was promoted to Sous Chef.
His entrepreneurial spirit flared, and in December of 2008, he opened Coquette in a gorgeous two-story Garden District building. Stoltzfus looks at Coquette as a culinary playground where he thrives on designing personalized tastings menus for guests and creating a menu that changes daily. His inspired cooking has earned his restaurant a spot on the Times-Picayune’s New Orleans Top Ten Restaurant List and Stoltzfus has been named a semi-finalist in the prestigious James Beard “Best Chef in the South,” award for the past four years.
Josh Habiger entered the food industry at the early age of 15 years old, working as a dishwasher in a small diner in Minnesota. His creativity, imagination and tenacity to develop a well-rounded culinary skill-set have since landed him in some of the best kitchens in the world.
While traveling Europe, Habiger staged at Heston Blumenthal’s three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck restaurant in London, where he saw firsthand what it takes to operate such a prestigious institution. In 2002, Habiger continued his culinary career at James Beard award-winning Craft restaurant in New York as the chef de partie, later joining the opening team for Grant Achatz’s three-Michelin star Alinea in Chicago.
In 2008, Habiger returned to the Midwest to team up with the opening team at Hotel Ivy’s Porter & Frye, a Minneapolis-based restaurant that quickly set the standards for restaurants in the Midwest for its trendy, contemporary American fare. While in Minneapolis, Habiger met celebrated mixologist Toby Maloney of Alchemy Consulting, who later introduced him to an interesting project he was working on in Nashville. Excited about the opportunity, Habiger moved to Nashville to help Maloney plan, train employees, and open The Patterson House cocktail bar with Alchemy Consulting and Strategic Hospitality in late 2008.
In 2011, Habiger became the co-chef of a modern, forward-thinking tasting room called The Catbird Seat. Cooking alongside fellow chef Erik Anderson, the duo’s ever-evolving tasting menu of sophisticated and inspired dishes received national acclaim and catapulted both Strategic Hospitality’s portfolio as well as Nashville’s culinary scene. Habiger was named one of Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs in 2012 as well as one of the coveted Food & Wine Best New Chef All-Stars in 2013. Additionally, under his tutelage, The Catbird Seat garnered media accolades such as Bon Appétit Magazine’s The Hot 10: Best New Restaurants in America and GQ’s The Ten Best New Restaurants in America.
Two years later, Habiger departed The Catbird Seat to become Strategic Hospitality’s culinary director, assisting chefs across all SH properties in achieving ultimate creativity. Habiger also curated the opening menu at Pinewood Social, a third-space restaurant opened by Strategic Hospitality in late 2013 in Rolling Mill Hill.
In 2016, Habiger partnered with Strategic Hospitality to open Bastion in the Wedgewood-Houston neighborhood of Nashville. Complete with two distinct spaces, Bastion’s bar offers a casual, local watering hole dedicated to the neighborhood’s entrepreneurs and artists while the restaurant, tucked behind an iron door, seats 24 and offers an ever-evolving, multi-course a la carte menu. Bastion has received both regional and national recognition. In 2017, the restaurant was chosen as one of Southern Living Magazine’s Best New Restaurants in the South, one of EATER’s 21 Best New Restaurants in America, and honored as a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation. In 2018, Josh was named as a semifinalist for Best Chef: Southeast by the James Beard Foundation.
Make a Reservation
Bastion is accepting reservations with a $25 price per person as a deposit that will be applied to the final bill. To book your reservation, visit BastionNashville.com.