The New Orleans-based chef know as the ‘Queen of Creole Cuisine.’
Leah Chase was born January 6th, 1923 to Creole parents in Madisonville, Louisiana, United States. In 1945, she married musician Edgar “Dooky” Chase II, whose parents owned the Dooky Chase Restaurant. Chase began working at the restaurant during the 1950s and, over time, she eventually converted the menu to reflect her own family’s Creole recipes. Her restaurant became known as a gathering place during the 1960s among many who participated in the Civil Rights movement; her restaurant was known also as a gallery due to its extensive African American Art collection.
Dooky Chase’s 5th Ward location was flooded by Hurricane Katrina and was not scheduled to reopen until the summer of 2006. The New Orleans restaurant community got together on April 14, 2006 (Holy Thursday) to hold a benefit, charging $75 to $500 per person for a gumbo z’herbes, fried chicken, and bread pudding lunch at a posh French Quarter restaurant. The guests consumed 50 gallons of gumbo and raised $40,000 for the 82-year-old Mrs. Chase.
Leah Chase hosts a cooking show devoted to Creole cooking, and she is the author of several cookbooks: The Dooky Chase Cookbook, And Still I Cook, Down Home Healthy: Family Recipes of Black American Chefs.