Ella Brennan It was Ella who ignited my interest in exploring why we in Louisiana eat the things we do, and eat them the way that we do. I was fascinated with and immersed myself in the evolution and history of our local cuisines. Through her guidance and encouragement, I found “my place”in the culinary world: writing about and preserving our distinctive culture. How fortunate I am to have had Ella as a friend, mentor, advisor and teacher for 40 years.Throughout my career, when I sometimes had uncertainties and difficulties, I asked myself “What would Ella do?” I imagine I will still do that …Thanks, Ella, for being such an incredible and unique role model.
REMEMBERING By Marcelle Bienvenu I f it weren’t for Miss Ella, I wouldn’t be writing this. You see, she is the one who encouraged me to become a food writer. I met Ella in the early 1970s when I was working as the local consultant on the Time-Life book American Cooking: Creole and Acadian . During a photo shoot, she and I hit it off, becoming fast friends, and she invited me to work at Commander’s Palace as an assistant catering manager. What an exciting time!TheBrennan familywas in themidst of creating a restaurant that would become one of the top dining establishments in the Crescent City. Ella was tireless, and I quickly became aware of her endless talents.I learned that she had an innate sense of hospitality,
“ In a city where most everyone is crazy about cuisine, Miss Ella Brennan had an ear- ly and lifelong passion for Louisiana food. When Rouses opened our first store in New Orleans in 2007, she was one of the first peo- ple to welcome us, telling me a great food city needed a great grocery. She and her family, as well as chefs from her restaurants, appeared often in our commercials, magazine and ads. Her photo, along with her most famous quote — “Most people eat to live; in New Orleans we live to eat” — hangs in several of our stores. Miss Ella leaves an extraordinary culinary leg- acy that will not soon be forgotten. She will be missed.” — Donald Rouse, COB, 2nd Generation and the energy and enthusiasm to create a restaurant where every guest would be treated royally. I was in awe of her passion to make Commander’s a memorable dining experience for every single person that walked through the front door. Ah, and the food that evolved in the kitchen when Chef Paul Prudhomme arrived on the scene! Under Ella’s supervision, I witnessed the marriage of New Orleans Creole and Acadian cuisines, and it was a thing of great beauty — not to mention divinely delicious.When Paul left to open his own restaurant and Emeril Lagasse was named executive chef, I admit I was skeptical — a guy from Massachusetts?! But Ella had the knack of reading people, of knowing that this young chef fromNew England would bring another dimension to “the Palace.”I was fascinated by Emeril’s creativity and eagerness to embrace the local fare and enhance it.
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