Friday, September 28, 2007

Oh, the Food! Dookie Chase is Back!

Dooky Chase's to reopen after $500,000 in repair. According to the New Orleans City Business news, Leah Chase has been able to get the requires repairs funded and implemented. We're coming up on the two year anniversary and while the article says no date is yet set, I hope it's on the anniversary. That's the kind of message the world needs about New Orleanians. The job will get done.

Leah Chase Cook Book Picture I watch Leah on PBS when I see that she's on. Her show is "Creole Cooking with Leah Chase" and it's a hoot to watch. She is one spunky lady. The article above says she is 84 and wikipedia says she was born on January 6, 1923.

She's a local. She was born in my mom's home town of Madisonville on the north shore. Even now, Madisonville is fairly rural (growing lot's of very large homes right now, though) so I can imagine what it was ike in the 1920s. When I was kid, many of the roads were made up of little river rocks (and I'm not that old).

She moved to New Orleans when she was 18 and got a job at Colonial Restaurant . In 1945 she married Dooky and, after starting a family, she began working at his family's restaurant, part-time. She soon took a more direct involvement and eventually changed the menu and became chef. The rest is history.

The City Buisness article credits Leah with geting the resturaunt fixed.

Chase’s tenacity was key to the restaurant’s recovery as was the outpouring of support from friends, family and the legions of fans who vowed not to let Dooky Chase’s become another casualty of Katrina.

Money cobbled together from various sources covered what a $200,000 insurance policy did not. Chase estimates close to half a million dollars went into rebuilding her restaurant.

Leah Chase is a New Orleans icon. Unlike the entertainer/chefs who spend all of their time on TV, Leah built her reputation on making food. She won the Southern Foodways Alliance’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Ella Brennan Savoir Faire Award for Excellence in 2000. She also has several cook books available.

You should check out her Dooky Chase Creole Gumbo recipe from WDSU.


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