Local Restaurateur Ella Brennan Dies At 92

Mentored chefs Prudhomme, Lagasse

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Ella Brennan, who played a major role in putting New Orleans on the world's culinary map as matriarch of the restaurant Commander's Palace, has died at age 92.

A statement emailed from the Commander's Family of Restaurants says Brennan died Thursday with family and friends at her side. Her funeral will be private.

Although she couldn't cook, Brennan was credited with creating nouvelle Creole cuisine. At Commander's Palace, she cultivated chefs including Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse.

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Brennan dropped out of secretarial school to work full-time for her brother, restaurateur Owen Brennan, in the 1940s. She taught herself about the business, reading books and magazines and asking questions of everyone from farmers to cooks.

Lagasse called her one of the greatest restaurateurs he's ever met.

-by AP reporter Janet McConnaughey

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The following is the official statement from the Commander’s Family of Restaurants:

After 92 years as one of the most inspiring women the culinary scene has ever seen, Miss Ella Brennan passed away on May 31, 2018 with her family, friends, by her side. The impact that Miss Ella had on New Orleans is immeasurable. She broke every boundary that she came up against, opening restaurants during a time when female ownership was unprecedented, and fostered an incredible sense of community in each kitchen and dining room that she touched. Quick witted, honest, determined, and brilliant, Miss Ella's words of wisdom will forever linger on those lucky enough to have come into contact with her throughout her very full life. The Commander's Palace, SoBou, and Café Adelaide families will always remember Ella as the matriarch of the Commander's Family of Restaurants. Most importantly, Ella was a family-first lady, and Miss Ella's family appreciates all of the good thoughts and well wishes, and requests privacy during this time. Services will be privately held.

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Tonight, the iconic Commander’s Palace sign will not be lit.

 

 

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