Savoir Faire
FOOD

FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD

Daniel Humm

ELEVEN MADISON PARK

  1. Managing Director
  2. Managing Director
  3. Managing Director
  4. Managing Director
  5. Managing Director
  6. Managing Director
  7. Managing Director
  8. Managing Director

 Foie Gras w/Shaved Hazelnuts

Carrots

Veggie Beets

Roast Duck

Chocolate Tart

 Heirloom Squash  Lasagna

 Lobster  Lasagna

Chocolate ice cream w/ salted Caramel

ELEVEN MADISON PARK

New York, NY

2016
James Beard Award
for
Outstanding Service

Leah Chase

DOOKY CHASE

www.dookychaserestaurant.com

President George Bush & Chef Leah Chase

Chef Leah Chase & President Barack Obama

Recently, I sat down and spoke with Leah Chase the winner of the 2016 James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award. Leah Chase is hailed as the Queen of Creole Cuisine, the head chef at Dooky Chase Restaurant in New Orleans, a mother,  grandmother, pioneer and so much more. Ms. Chase is more than meets the eye. She is a woman of wisdom and  insight, who could easily be a counselor or news commentator.  She is not only adept in the culinary field, she is astute with an encyclopedic knowledge of the ninety-three years of her journey.  As we sat in her kitchen in the New Orleans restaurant, these are some of the questions I posed to her: Ms. Chase did Mr. Chase wine or dine you in your courtship?  No, we didn't do that in those days. His family had a restaurant, but he had a band. I was a party girl. I loved to dance and I wanted to dance without being confined to one guy.  My interest was in having fun, so I would attend all the dances. He told his band members that he was going to dance with; to which they replied "her?". So we danced and even though I didn't like musicians, I liked his family. In that era, black people were taught that musicians and artists  were lazy and irresponsible.  If you saw me out with someone it would be an athletic guy, like a boxer.  I liked athletic people.   We danced , and I was 23 and he was 18 when we were married.  Many said our marriage would never work. Many couples say they can't work together. How did you and Mr. Chase work together and maintain your marriage?...maintain your family?...maintain your business and your credibility?  He didn't do any physical work, because his family had means (wealth). I was accustomed to physical work. Previously, I had worked as a seamstress and knew how to sew quilts and a motley number of items. I didn't want to be a seamstress for the duration of my life.  So, I went to work at a restaurant in the French Quarter. There were three of us who went there to work, one of them died two years ago. In this restaurant I learned how to set a table for fine dining with a tablecloth and place settings.  "Many times people ask me that and I tell them, I don't know how I did it. I just got up everyday and did what I had to do. I just did it."    A woman has to allow the man to be the man.  A woman has to know how to let the man be the man.  We were taught, the man would get the first and the best at dinner.  Many of us don't know how to use our power. Sometimes women overpower men. Don't try to be a man. You're not a man. You're the only one on this planet who can give birth to another human being. Do you realize the power God gave you? You are powerful! Consider the power God gave you, that is power. We forget how much power we have. I am proud that women are being educated these days. Many times when you see women who are educated they say: I don't want him because he is a janitor or he is a cabdriver.  But it doesn't matter who  brings it home, we work together and go up together.  Black women have done a great job in the past. When we were young, we were taught everything before we left home.  We were taught how to deal with people and to defend ourselves. Our parents had given us their best, but we had to work. I am concerned that many women sell themselves cheap. Don't sell yourself cheap.  We were taught a bale of cotton is extremely valuable, but you are more valuable than a bale of  cotton. You are priceless!  I don't know what the problem is now. It seems we have lost our way. It's amazing how women allow men to abuse them. We abuse everything these days. People abuse food. You can't eat fried chicken everyday. We ate fried chicken or stewed chicken, peas, potato salad or macaroni and cheese for Sunday dinner, back then it was a real treat. Fried chicken wasn't ordained for us to eat everyday.  Gumbo was not a dish for everyday either. It was no question what the soup would be; it was always gumbo, what season it was didn't matter.  In the fall and winter we ate seafood gumbo. In the spring and summer we ate okra gumbo.  The way I view people is the way I view art.  Everybody has a purpose, something good in them. You may look at some people and find it really hard to find anything good, but if you look long enough you will find it.  I understood that I had to get along with others, so I made friends. They had what I wanted, so l learned to get along and make friends. Many Civil Rights and political meetings were conducted here: clandestine and public. Was your business or family ever threatened?  No, never, my mother-in-law was a very kind person and in those days the police force was all white.  They would call  and say they are coming over and she would prepare them a sandwich. Often I think of Martin Luther KIng, he had to be a special human being in this world. He exhorted us to work together, work together.  Once you develop a mentality of dependence it's hard to break. My personal observation is in spite of your culinary notoriety you have maintained your humility and dignity. What advice can you offer to black entrepreneurs and women in business?  Eleanor Roosevelt and Lindy Boggs were two powerful women, who knew how to use their power. At the wedding feast in the bible, Mary spoke to Jesus about the wine at the wedding feast one time, one time. Jesus said, it's not my time. We see the miracle that was performed immediately after her request.  Mary knew her power. Women know your power, get educated , don't try to be a man and work together.
 
 
 
 
Disclaimer: In high school our Honor Society would have it's annual banquet in the Dooky Chase banquet room upstairs. In this interview, I intimated to Ms. Chase that I still have fond memories of that fried chicken ( even though I have been a vegetarian since I was a teenager and no longer eat chicken.) Photos Courtesy of :leahchase.org, blog.nola.com and en.wikipedia.org.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Red Beans and Rice

DOOKY CHASE

New Orleans, LA

2016

James Beard

Lifetime Achievement Award

Alon Shaya

SHAYA

  1. Shaya
    Shaya
  2. Shaya
    Shaya
  3. Shaya
    Shaya
  4. Shaya
    Shaya

​H

Hummus w/ Lamb Ragu

Roasted Cabbage

 Charred Eggplant​​

Avocado w/ Whitefish                                 

www.shayarestaurant.com

SHAYA

New Orleans, LA

  2016

James Beard Award
  

  for

Best New Restaurant