Chef, Co-Owner Of Mother's Restaurant Dies

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Jerry Amato, the chef and co-owner of Mother's Restaurant, a very popular restaurant in downtown New Orleans where long lines to get in are common, has died. He was 65.

         Amato died on Saturday of complications from cancer after a lengthy illness, according to Charles Pizzo, a restaurant spokesman.

         Amato helped turn Mother's Restaurant from a small corner po-boy shop to a New Orleans dining destination with international reach, according to The Times-Picayune’s Jennifer Larino.

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         Amato and his brother purchased the restaurant in 1986. They preserved the laid-back, mom-and-pop atmosphere of the 76-year-old restaurant. Its reputation is built upon classic Louisiana dishes such as jambalaya, crawfish etouffee and bread pudding.

         Thousands of visitors flock to the restaurant each year.

         In an online tribute to him, the restaurant said Amato resisted "fads and trends" and "stayed true to the traditions that made New Orleans home cooking exactly what it is — unpretentious home cooking."

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         "Jerry was someone who had a very warm heart, and he was very skilled, he was very good with people," John Amato said of his brother.

         John Amato said Mother's would stay open. "It will continue on and on," he said.

         Jerry Amato was a New Orleans native. He studied business at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. He was later certified as a chef through the culinary arts program at Delgado Community College and he continued his studies in cooking at the Culinary Institute of America, Pizzo said.

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         Funeral arrangements are pending.

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