Leah Chase family celebrates legendary late chef’s birthday
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The family of legendary New Orleans chef Leah Chase, who died last year, is holding a memorial event at the restaurant she once led featuring many of the dishes she made famous.
The event will be held on Monday, Jan. 6, on what would have been her 97th birthday, according to a release from the family. Chase was a civil rights icon and ground-breaking chef who created the city’s first white-tablecloth restaurant for black patrons, broke the city’s segregation laws by seating both white and black customers, and introduced countless tourists to Louisiana Creole cooking.
The event will be held at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant where she was a constant figure for decades, chopping vegetables in the kitchen or walking among the tables greeting the many luminaries, locals and tourists who came to the restaurant. In her later years, she often used a walker but that seemed to be her only nod to slowing down.
The event is a fundraiser for the foundation she and her late husband founded in 2013 which supports organizations that work to promote cultural arts, education, culinary arts and social justice.
The dinner will feature her signature dishes such as Gumbo Z’herbes — a special greens-filled gumbo she would serve on the Thursday before Easter. It will also feature a special art exhibit. Chase was a avid patron of African-American artists, and many works that she collected are featured in her restaurant.