Chef Martha Wiggins – Biography

Martha Wiggins brings a passion for the culinary craft to all her dishes. Growing up in Washington, D.C., Wiggins started in the industry at local deli Pumpernickels at 15 years old. Here she found her passion for professional cooking. At age 20, she moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts and attended a culinary arts program while also advancing her culinary experience in several fine-dining establishments.

In 2010, Wiggins came to New Orleans and joined the staff of Sylvain as the sous chef to executive chef Alex Harrell. In October 2014, Wiggins took over as executive chef at Sylvain. As executive chef at Sylvain, her modern gastropub fare landed her on The Times-Picayune’s list of Chefs to Watch 2015, Gambit’s 2015 Emerging Chefs list, and her holiday cocktail snacks were featured on the cover of Food & Wine’s December 2015 issue. Her work at Sylvain garnered attention from the James Beard Foundation. In 2017, Wiggins was a semifinalist for the Rising Star Award; in 2018, she was among the semifinalists for Best Chef South.

In early 2018, Wiggins left Sylvain and joined the opening team at The Elysian Bar at the new Hotel Peter & Paul, ranked number five among Bon Appetit’s 10 Best New Restaurants in 2019.

Today, Wiggins joins Café Reconcile as Executive Chef to pursue not only her culinary passion but desire to mentor and train young people and prepare them for the rigor of a competitive hospitality industry.

As Executive Chef, Wiggins will lead the transformation of the Reconcile kitchen, creating the best possible environment for teaching, learning, and personal growth for Reconcile Interns and Alumni. Moreover, she will transform the Café Reconcile culinary experience, reimagine the philosophy behind the café menu and dining experience while preserving its traditional New Orleans fare, and establish Café Reconcile as one of New Orleans’ most recognized eateries.

In concert with Café Reconcile’s commitment to equity and inclusion, Wiggins is dedicated to initiatives that bring attention to and eliminate inequities in the restaurant industry. She aims to affect change and create more equitable work environments that respect and reward the talents and contributions of all workers within a creative, diverse, and dynamic industry.

“At Café Reconcile, we are not only creating a meal and memorable dining experience. We have the ability to change lives by supporting young people who are chasing their dreams,” said Wiggins. “I’m inspired to craft a culture that empowers Interns and Alumni to acquire the skills that will set them on the path to a career. But equally important is the opportunity for Reconcile to set the example, standard, and expectation for a hospitality industry culture for our Interns and Alumni that values and respects all, no matter the position someone holds.”

Meet Martha Wiggins, Reconcile Exec. Chef (Photos)

On Saturday, Feb. 27, Reconcile New Orleans officially celebrated its new Executive Chef, Chef Martha Wiggins. Of course, the roll-out event was held with limited capacity in order to follow city guidelines. A select group of past and present board members and supporters, a small group of media affiliates, and limited staff were invited to meet Chef Martha, hear her vision, and see her talents all while tasting some of her delicious dishes. Read Full Bio on Chef Wiggins!

COVID-19 Helpful Resources

ResourceLink / Contact InfoNotes
COVID-19 Child Nutrition Programs available for Families
SNAP (Food Stamps)1-888-524-3578. Dial 1-3-1-3-6 for shortcut to be on holdIf you’re in the New Orleans / Northshore / Bayou / Lake Charles regions, dial 211 for assistance. In Acadiana, dial 337-232-HELP. For anything not covered here, please email
Benefits Enrollment: Catholic Charities605-9248, msmith@ccano.orgMary Smith, 605-9248, – Benefits Enrollment (from Maria Huete)
Second Harvest Food Bank, 8am-7pm, can call at 1-855-392-9338. Provides application assistance and case management over the phone and in person as well as help with Food pantry referrals and:
• SNAP (Food Stamps)
• FITAP – Family Independence Temporary Assistance (Formerly TANF)
• KCSP – Kinship Care Subsidy Program
• Child Support
• Access to community support counselors
NOLA Tree Project Food Distribution (from Second Harvest)connie@nolatreeproject.orgWill deliver meals to elderly or homebound: email
TCA FoodTCA Food Pantry, located at 4518 Thalia StreetWill offer supplemental food assistance to families daily between the hours of 8-5, beginning Tuesday, March 17. During the emergency declaration, all families are eligible and encouraged to participate in the supplemental food distribution.
Legal Assistance: Housing and Evictions Evictions Suspended. First and Second City Court have suspended all residential evictions until April 24, 2020, with further orders to follow.
Financial and Legal Assistance to prevent homelessness (rental assistance and foreclosure mitigation)The Mayor’s Office of Community Development has partnered with Southeast Louisiana Legal Services, Total Community Action and New Orleans Family Justice Alliance to provide immediate financial and legal assistance for homelessness prevention which includes rental assistance and foreclosure mitigation. Inquiries should be made to the Office of Community Development at (504) 658-4200.
Southeast Louisiana Legal Services: Louisiana Legal Services provides free, civil legal aid to low-income people. They can provide legal assistance for landlord-tenant issues and much more. Go to or call (504) 529-1000 to receive more information.
Unemployment Insurance: currently inundated with applications and cannot guarantee payment as this time Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) has released information for workers in Louisiana who have been impacted by COVID-19. Those who are eligible to receive Unemployment Insurance benefits will also qualify for SNAP benefits. As a worker, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance if: Your work hours have been reduced because of lack of work due to Coronavirus. Your work hours have been reduced because of lack of work due to Coronavirus. Your workplace closes temporarily, and you are not being compensated. You have been instructed not to go to work, and you are not being paid while at home. If any of these situations apply to you, you can file a claim for unemployment insurance by visiting or calling 866-783-5567. Be sure to answer “yes” to the question, “Are you filing for Unemployment Insurance benefits for reasons related to COVID-19?” This will provide needed information to the LWC to help process your claim.
NOLA BA Relief Fund of a relief fund for gig workers (i..e. Uber drivers); awards $500-1000 depending on determination of need. Application is on link. To qualify need proof of residence in Orleans Parish, proof that >60% of income is gig related, demonstrated loss of income due to pandemic, at or below 100% Annual Median Income Requirements: 1) Driver’s license, bill or bank statement proving residency 2) Independent Contractor Agreement(s) or other proof of gig-related employment 3)2018 or 2019 tax return 4) Bank Statements reflecting a minimum of 90 days of income activity prior to 3/9/20 5) bank statements reflecting compromised income for a minimum of 7 days post 3/9/20
Restaurant Opportunities Centers United link includes their application for financial help.
CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees) supply financial help to families, but only if one of the restaurant employees has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and has a child in the household due to the volume of applications they are receiving.
United Way Hospitality Cares Pandemic Fund

Docmentation Requirements: (1) 2018 or 2019 tax return (2) Government issued ID or driver’s license proving residency (4) Recent check stub showing proof of employment based on program qualification requirements
One-time award of up to $500. Qualifications: (1) Earn at or below the minimum ALICE household survival budget of $30,000 for an individual and $61,000 for household with children (2) Reside in United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s seven-parish service area, including Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Plaquemines, Tangipahoa, or Washington parishes (3) Work in a Louisiana-based restaurant, bar or hotel between Feb. 1, 2020 and date of application (4) Are experiencing a financial emergency as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Entergy:entergy-neworleans.comFor the next 30 days, Entergy will halt customer disconnections if nonpayment is the result of the coronavirus. Customers can call 800-368-3749 or visit for more information.
Sewerage and Water Board
Cell Phones & ServicesCox will not terminate service to residences or small businesses that are unable to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus. For those affected, Cox will waive late fees as well.Verizon will waive late fees for residential or small businesses that have been impacted by the coronavirus. In addition, the company will not terminate service to any resident or small business because of their inability to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus. AT&T, CenturyLink, Sprint, and T-Mobile have also publicly committed to the “Keep Americans Connected Pledge” to ensure customers aren’t cut off from communications services during the coronavirus pandemic. This includes no shutoffs, no late fees, and making wi-fi hotspots available to anyone who needs them.
Catholic CharitiesTrinna Stanford, 450-9723,; Maria Heute, Reconcile Board Member/Catholic Charities Development Director mphuete@cox.netCatholic Charities has enacted our disaster case management for those impacted. If any interns or employees experience hardship, please contact Maria Huete (see email). She should be able to help with rental assistance, etc.
TCA UtilitiesTCA’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Sewerage and Water Board Assistance Programs are being suspended, effective Monday, 3/16. In accordance with the Emergency Declaration and supporting regulatory declarations utilities (ENTERGY and SWB) cannot disconnect services during the ememrgency declaration.
Golden Rule qualify need to have been employed in hospitality industry for at least 6 months. Grants given to help cover living costs (not paid directly to applicant but instead to landlord, electric company, etc.)
Sunshine Behavioral Health and Online Mental Health Resources During COVID-19 Pandemic
Mental Health Hotline SAMSA’s Disaster Distress HelplineCall 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. When you call or text, crisis counselors will listen to what’s on your mind with patience and without judgment. There is no need to give any identifying information when you contact the Disaster Distress Helpline.
Women With A Vision(504) 302-8822Offices are closed, case management services including harm reduction information are available via phone.
Sexual Trauma Awareness & Response (STAR)Sexual Assault Hotline: (855) 435-STAR24/7 hotline, safety planning, all services are via telephone, including counseling, emergency assistance, and legal advocacy.
Catholic CharitiesLyn Shraberg, 201-4047, mshraberg@ccano.orgLyn Shraberg – Marque Fund and Crisis Counseling –
Virtual AA Meeting ID: 773 878 425 email – timmyr1070@gmail.comAA meeting at 9pm CST daily. Conducted in English. Attend by using Zoom or Google.
Virual NA MeetingsFor help finding a meeting can call (504)889-8840 or go to www.noana.orgVirtual NA meetings. Either call the number listed to find one or try telephone meetings M-F at 6:30am at 712-432-0075 Access code: 299757# or a virtual meeting Thurs-Tues at 6pm and Wed at 7pm at
*Junior League Diaper Bank (Partnering with Second Harvest Food Bank)
NEW! with Catholic Charities/Second Harvest Food Bank and works with Reconcile by providing diapers for the families of our young people. Please reach out to Second Harvest!
“Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource”. for anyone with children to talk to them about Coronavirus and its impact; available in multiple languages
New Orleans Family Justice Center(504) 866-955424/7 hotline, safety planning, emergency protections orders, limited clinic availability, limited in-person services. All other services are via telephone, including counseling, emergency assistance, and legal advocacy.

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