Phillip L. Lopez
Phillip Lopez is the owner and Executive Chef of Root in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was the son of an Army family and spent his childhood living in Germany, France, Spain, Austria, Holland, and Puerto Rico. He landed his first culinary job in New Orleans with Chef John Besh. Being displaced to Washington, DC following Hurricane Katrina gave Lopez the opportunity to train under Chef Michel Richard, the highly celebrated culinarian behind Citronelle. Returning to New Orleans several months later, Phillip again joined Besh and eventually worked at five of his restaurants, including Restaurant August and American Sector at the World War II Museum. In 2010 Lopez became Executive Chef of Restaurant Rambla, a modern-style restaurant with French and Spanish influences.
With 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 a rare 4-bean review by The Times Picayune, all before the first anniversary. Root and Lopez have been featured in Southern Living, Fodor’s Travel Intelligence, and Forbes magazine, as well as many local and regional publications.
Lopez has also been honored with numerous awards—the 2012 Eater Awards for New Orleans named Chef Philip “Chef of the Year,” Star Chefs named him one of its “Rising Star Chefs” in 2012, and Louisiana Cookin’ Magazine’s named him a “Chef to Watch” in 2011.
Currently, Chef Philip is working on plans to open Square Root in the trendy, Lower Garden District neighborhood of New Orleans in 2014. The anticipation is building in the culinary world, even earning a pre-opening mention in Condé Nast Traveler. Phillip is a progressive force for new ideas in food preparation, techniques, textures, and service and his passion for the art of the meal fuels his fascination with food creativity.
Maximilian G. Ortiz
Maximilian Ortiz is the Proprietor and General Manager of Root in New Orleans, Louisiana. Together with Executive Chef Phillip Lopez, Maximilian turned a dream into a reality with the opening of Root. He has an ardent understanding of the restaurant industry garnered from over fifteen years of experience working in some of New Orleans most popular establishments, including Bella Luna and Restaurant August.
While finishing college at Loyola University, Maximilian fell in love with the service industry; although his original goal was law school, he was deterred by his passion for food and service. Maximilian has found great inspiration from working with chefs such as Horst Pfeiffer and John Besh, and their culinary accomplishments played a huge role in shaping his future. It was at Restaurant August that Maximilian and Phillip met and realized they shared a common vision about what the dining scene in New Orleans needed to move forward.
Out of that passion came Root, a progressive, forward thinking restaurant that opened in November of 2011. With much success comes many accolades and awards. 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 a rare 4-bean review by The Times Picayune. In 2012, Maximilian was named Maître d’ of the Year by New Orleans Magazine and he is poised to leave his mark on the culinary scene in New Orleans.
Maximilian and Chef Phillip plan to open Square Root in the trendy, Lower Garden District neighborhood of New Orleans in 2014.