Known as the “Queen of Cajun Cooking,” Marcelle Bienvenu is an accomplished chef and writer. Her articles and recipes have been featured in a multitude of publications, including Louisiana Cookin' magazine and CityLife, and she regularly contributes a column to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. She worked as a contributing editor for magazines and newspapers such as Food and Wine, Southern Living, Redbook, and the New York Times, and her diverse culinary skills are captured in her many cookbooks. Showcasing her talents in the kitchen, Bienvenu began teaching a course at the John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University in January 2009.
Bienvenu began her culinary adventure with the help of Ella Brennan, an owner of the award-winning Commander's Palace, a historic New Orleans restaurant built in 1880. Brennan taught Bienvenu about the restaurant business, and with encouragement from her mentor, Bienvenu struck out on her own, opening the Chez Marcelle restaurant in 1981. After her restaurant closed in 1984, she became the manager of Oak Alley Plantation, a restaurant and bed and breakfast operation located in Vacherie, Louisiana. Later, she worked as the manager of the Lafayette Town House, a private club in Lafayette, Louisiana. In 1992, Bienvenu was approached with the opportunity to work with Emeril Lagasse, creating recipes for a number of his books. During her years with him, they developed four cookbooks, and she continued to hone her skills in the kitchen.
Bienvenu attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and in 1967 earned a bachelor of arts degree in history and English. She also has a Louisiana Master Gardener™ certificate from the Louisiana State University Agriculture Center. She resides in St. Martinville, Louisiana, with her husband.