Celebrity Chefs of South Florida: Chef Sean McHugh of Lafayette’s

Locted in vibrant CityPlace in the heart of West Palm Beach, Lafayette’s Restaurant and Bar has an intimate charm and a casual feel that will draw you in for an evening of live music, libations, and southern food with an attitude. If you’re in the mood for something easy or romantic, we will feature live piano music or acoustical guitar every night during dinner and beyond.

Recently, Palm Beach Happening had the chance to catch up with their executive Chef Sean McHugh and ask him a bit about his culinary philosophy, style, and why we should visit Lafayette’s!



How did you get started in the food industry? I spent my whole life cooking, Coming from an Italian family, we are bred to do this. I got my first restaurant job at 15, bussing and dishwashing and absolutely loved it. I dreamed of being able to cook there. I asked every day and was told I was too young, too inexperienced, and they had enough help. Flash forward three years, my boss calls me up and says they need help on the line. I was like a kid in a candy shop. I gave a star performance that night, and never looked back.


Can you tell us a little more about your Restaurant? We specialize in Cajun-inspired Southern cuisine, with a touch of what Palm Beach has to offer in fresh, local seafood and produce.


What is your philosophy on cooking? Cooking is 99 percent passion and a tablespoon of salt.


Of all the dishes on the current menu, which is your favorite? The Shrimp and Grits! That dish is absolutely stunning!


Are you enjoying your time in South Florida? Yes, for me this is the greatest city in the world. From the beaches to the woodlands, there is always something to do.


Can you tell us a little bit about your previous experience in fine dining? I have worked for hotels and country clubs across south Florida. From fine dining to banquets, I have had a taste of most of what the culinary world has to offer. But learning never ends.


What is the funniest thing to happen to you in your cooking career? I may or may not have lit my pants on fire in the middle of a dinner rush and had to pour water on myself to put it out. But, moving on!


I know that many restaurants in South Florida now focus on using more local cuisine. What foods are you planning on highlighting this season? Fresh local fish, as well as local farmers market produce.


More and more chefs in the Palm Beaches have become involved in cooking contests featured on the Food Network. Do you have any interest in that? Yes, that has always been a dream of mine. I have worked for two chefs who have been featured on Food Network culinary contests.


What new and exciting plans do you have for your restaurant? We will be rolling out a new menu in the near future, offering exciting dishes, as well as enhancing the already-featured favorites.


Here’s your chance to embrace the most vibrant culture in West Palm Beach, one in which the music and food feeds the soul. For the finest live local music and delectable Southern dishes, you’ve got to be at Lafayette’s Restaurant and Bar!

Palm Beach Happening would like to Chef Sean McHugh for taking the time to share a bit more of his story with us.

If you’re a local chef whose cuisine matches up to the best out there, we’d love to talk to you. Contact us and perhaps you can be the next celebrity chef!