The culinary world is mourning the loss of iconic chef Leah Chase. Her restaurant Dooky Chase was known for its creole cuisines and contributing to the Civil Rights Movement. Her work inspired many in Acadiana.
Known as the queen of creole cuisine, chef Leah Chase used her love of food to build an empire in New Orleans, while inspiring others beyond the Crescent City.
“She inspired generations of chefs to get involved in your community and make difference,” Acadiana Chef Patrick Mould said.” She inspired others to do what you can to support people who don’t have as much as you do.”
Mould has worked with Chase. He says her work went beyond the kitchen.
“She created Dooky Chase, which was a fine dining establishment in a creole neighborhood, which at the time was unheard of, ” Mould said.
Chase became an iconic figure during the Civil Rights Movement. She fed leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall and the freedom riders.
Despite segregation laws at the time, she allowed blacks and whites to eat together. She used her restaurant as a bridge to bring everyone together.
“She had a philosophy that you could get to know people and learn things about people by sitting at a table with them and eating a bowl of gumbo,” Mould said. “It was that simple. Food was the thing that brought us together. She just inspired all of us to be better chefs and people.”