Data News Staff Edited Report
New Orleans Public Television Station WYES celebrates Leah Chase, the “Queen of Creole Cuisine,” in a new 26- part national cooking series featuring members of the legendary chef’s family. THE DOOKY CHASE KITCHEN: LEAH’S LEGACY series shares dishes prepared by younger generations of the Chase family who have led the restaurant since Leah’s death in 2019. In segments shot on location in Dooky Chase’s Restaurant, viewers will meet Leah’s grandson Edgar “Dook” Chase IV, who now oversees the restaurant’s kitchen; her niece Cleo Robinson, who joined Leah in the kitchen in 1980; and the restaurant’s newest chef, Leah’s great-granddaughter Zoe Chase. Paired with some of the menus are specialty cocktails crafted by Leah’s granddaughter Eve Marie Haydel, the restaurant’s beverage manager who has updated drink recipes from the restaurant’s earlier days. Granddaughter Chase Kamata narrates.
The Dooky Chase Kitchen: Leah’s Legacy recently premiered on WYES-TV and will stream on wyes.org/live and on the free WYES and PBS Apps. Episodes will premiere each Saturday at 10:00 a.m. and will repeat on Sundays at 11:30 a.m. Viewers outside of the WYES broadcast area should contact their local public television station for airdates and times. This series is distributed nationally by American Public Television (APT). For all series details and to order a copy of the series’ companion cookbook, visit wyes.org/dookychase.
Each 30-minute episode will explore a different chapter of the restaurant’s history. On an episode about distinguished guests, the Chase Chefs will share a recipe for Grits and Quail that Leah served at the restaurant in 2008 to President George W. Bush during a North America Leaders’ Summit. On another episode the restaurant’s significant place in the history of the Civil Rights Movement is commemorated with preparation of Creole Gumbo, a dish Leah served to Martin Luther King Jr. and other social activists when they held strategy sessions in the restaurant’s upstairs dining room in the 1960s. Today Dooky Chase remains a crossroads of culture and community, where gumbo is still a favorite of customers from all walks of life.
The series will also demonstrate a new take on Creole classics being introduced at the restaurant. Dishes like Lamb Chops with Mint Glaze, and Fish Cakes with Citrus Beurre Blanc reflect the professional training of Chef Dook, who has a diploma from the Cordon Bleu in Paris, and Chef Zoe, who is a graduate of the New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute (NOCHI).
For her work in the culinary arts and for her many acts of kindness, Leah Chase earned numerous accolades, including the 2016 James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award. A painting by Gustave Blache III of Leah at work in the Dooky Chase kitchen is on display in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian, where she takes her place alongside other Americans recognized for their character and achievement.
Leah continues to inspire people through food that is now prepared by those who carry on her unwavering commitment to the people of New Orleans. Dook Chase speaks for the family when he says, “My grandmother’s motto that she lived by was ‘pray, work and do for others.’ That was a seed planted into us and what we continue to live by.