If you are a food lover, you know about Commander’s Palace, the home of haute Creole cuisine in New Orleans’ Garden District. A new book about Miss Ella Brennan, the 90 year old proprietress and icon of the American Food Movement is out (penned by her daughter Ti Martin) and it’s a fascinating read.
The book traces the culinary icon’s life from managing her brother’s dive bar on Bourbon Street in the 1940s to helming one of the most important celeb studded (pals included Phyllis Diller, Raymond Burr, Danny Kaye and Rock Hudson) restaurants in the American South.
At her first restaurant, Brennan’s, Miss Ella just said “no” to trout almandine (and other French copycat dishes) instead pushing “haute Creole” flavors into the American mainstream. She gave a face to the food by birthing the celebrity chef (Emeril Lagasse, Paul Prudhomme) movement, created the NOLA convention bureau (from her front porch) and transformed New Orleans’ musty dining scene (she co-produced a radio show from her restaurant every Friday) into a glamorous billion dollar industry. Brennan’s efforts to position New Orleans the “Paris of America” yielded a spectacular brand of southern hospitality that is still on display at the Brennan family’s many restaurants.
Buy it on Amazon. It’s a foodie must-read.