Amanda Cusey, Executive Chef at Lake Charles's The Villa Harlequin, began developing her passion for food while growing up in the southwest United States. Traveling extensively throughout the US and Europe, Chef Amanda received her Cordon Bleu training at the Tante' Marie Culinary Academy in Surrey, England. Working her way up through the ranks at several restaurants in England and Ireland, she cemented her love of Italian cuisine while working under the guidance of Kristan Burness and Brendan Ward at Fiorentina in Dublin where she ultimately earned the position of Head Chef. Prior to coming to Lake Charles, Chef Amanda worked with Michelin Star chef Oliver Dunne as Head Chef at his Italian inspired pop up restaurant, Eatily in Dublin's city center. Chef Amanda is now looking forward to embracing her new home and bringing her twist on Italian cuisine to downtown Lake Charles at the Villa Restaurant.
The Villa & Harlequin restaurants merged creating The Villa Harlequin. The merger allows The Villa and Harlequin legacies to continue in a viable and sustainable way. The Harlequin, owned by Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter and his family before him, has been in the Lake Area since 1956. The original Italian Villa, located on Ryan Street, was opened by Mike Sperandeo's father, Marco Sperandeo, in 1986 and was at that location for 18 years. The new Villa opened at it's location on Pujo St. in downtown Lake Charles January 2017. Now, The Villa Harlequin is located at the downtown location in the historic Noble Building lovingly restored by Donna Richard. The new menu will be a combination of The Villa and Harlequin signature dishes. There will be a bit more emphasis on steaks and chops. The Harlequin Crab Remick, Crab Royale, Creole Tomato Bisque w/Basil & Lump Crab, Shrimp & Crab Salad, the Wedge Salad and The Harlequin House made salad dressings are some of the additions to the menu.
Pictured from left to right: Chef Amanda Cusey, Mayor Nic Hunter, Nic's son Harrison, Becky, Brenda and Michael.