“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’s my favorite restaurant.”
—Joe Cahn, executive director, New Orleans School of Cooking
“I can’t mention my favorite books without adding this cookbook to the list. The Queen of Creole Cuisine still has the spirit of a woman who has run of the kitchen at New Orleans’ Dooky Chase for over fifty years. I love Leah and her cookbook is a keeper.”
—Marcus Samuelsson, chef, author, and restaurateur
From the inception of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant in 1941, the establishment has functioned as a gathering place for the black political community of New Orleans, with the incomparable Leah Chase at the center of it all. As life for blacks gradually began to change, the restaurant became a hub of political activity during the Civil Rights movement of the ’60s.
Chase attributes the initial popularity of the new Dooky Chase to a change in her gumbo recipe, insisting, “It wasn’t until I changed the whole menu to Creole that I really got acceptance from everybody.” She originally tried to gain patrons by serving dishes such as jambalaya, fried chicken, shrimp, and oysters—foods that blacks wouldn’t normally eat at home—but eventually changed the entire menu. Inventive as well as traditional Creole dishes are the mainstay of Chase’s repertoire. B.L.T. Soup, Bushalini, Stewed Tripe with Pigs’ Feet, Grillades, Squirrel Pie, Low-Sodium Creole Red Kidney Beans, Stuffed Onions, and Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding have all graced the tables of Dooky Chase.