As the owner and chef extraordinaire of the popular Dooky Chase restaurant in
New Orleans, Leah Chase has distinguished herself as a community and civic
leader through her dedicated involvement with numerous charities and
organizations. The preeminent chef in the Dooky Chase kitchen, Chase has
established a reputation as one of the best purveyors of Creole cuisine in the
Leah Chase was born in rural Madisonville, Louisiana, and moved to New Orleans at the age of eighteen. After working briefly in a laundry in the French Quarter, she found a job at the Colonial Restaurant on Charters Street. It was the first time she had ever seen the inside of a restaurant.
In 1946, she married Edgar "Dooky" Chase II and shortly after, entered his family's restaurant business, which would grow into the present day Dooky Chase.
Her husband's mother was running the restaurant, and as Chase says, "Black
people had no other place to go, so she had a captive audience."
Over the years, as Chase's expertise and popularity grew, she was able to exert more influence upon the cuisine and atmosphere at Dooky Chase. She successfully grafted her country roots, both in ethics and food, to the black Creole tradition of the city, and soon the restaurant became a reflection of Chase herself and of the black community as a whole. In 2009, the Southern Food and Beverage Museum created the Leah Chase Louisiana Gallery in her honor.
Praise for Leah Chase
"The perfect person to epitomize the Louisiana Gallery . . .
not only has she cooked all her life, she has also represented New Orleans."
-Liz Williams, founder of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum
"Leah Chase . . . The Queen of Creole Cuisine . . . is one of
the hottest chefs in town."
-National Culinary Review
"Leah Chase is a superlative chef who knows her trade, and a wonderful human being."
-Libby Clark, food editor, Los Angeles Sentinel
"While reading the cookbook, I could not only 'hear' Leah
talking to me about her food, heritage and family, but I could smell and taste
the flavor from the great recipes and the great food that has made Dooky Chase my favorite restaurant."
-Joe Cahn, executive director, New Orleans School of Cooking
"I went to Dooky Chase/To get me something to eat
The waitress looked at me and said/Ray you sure look beat,
Now its early in the morning/And I ain't got nothing but the blues."
-Ray Charles, "Early in the Morning Blues"