Wednesday, July 14, 2010

American Chefs at the Festival

As the Saturday program didn't start until 7:30 p.m., Monique and I had some time to go from booth to booth to meet some of the American chefs. All of them were quite busy setting up their displays and preparing their food, but they graciously took a moment to chat with us and pose for photographs.

We met Alfred Singleton, Chef de Cuisine of Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse in New Orleans. Chef Singleton has been in the hospitality and restaurant business since the age of five, when he began helping his family in its sandwich shop in the lower Ninth Ward, learning how to cook gumbo and étouffée.

A few steps away, Edgar "Dooky" Chase IV and his wife Gretchen were setting up their booth. His eponymous restaurant, specializing in Creole cuisine and soul food, was founded in New Orleans in 1939. Under the direction of his grandmother, Leah Chase, the establishment became renowned over the years, and was frequented by celebrities such as Count Basie, Sarah Vaughn, Lena Horne...As Leah Chase said in an interview in 1997, "Everybody comes here to see what it's all about." Dooky is proud to represent the fourth generation of the Chase restaurant business, and says that he hopes there will soon be a fifth generation to carry on the tradition.

At another stand, we found husband and wife team Erich Loos IV and Jennifer Hough-Loos. We say team, because they teamed up to operate the booth. Back home, each is chef at a different restaurant: Jennifer at August, a contemporary French restaurant in New Orleans, and Erich at La Provence, specializing in rustic French cuisine in Lacombe.

Tomorrow we'll talk about other American chefs whom we met!

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