Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS - When the woman known as the queen of Creole cuisine celebrates a milestone birthday, the city takes notice, and that's exactly what Leah Chase's family is hoping will happen in January, for a good cause.
The family of the restaurant legend and chef/owner of Dooky Chase on Wednesday unveiled plans for a full weekend of events to celebrate her 90th birthday. That includes establishing a foundation in her honor, hoping to carry on her legacy of community involvement and service.
The family matriarch turns 90 on Twelfth Night, Jan. 6. The birthday plans include the establishment of the Edgar “Dooky” Jr. and Leah Chase Family Foundation, which will benefit from many of the January birthday activities.
On Friday, Jan. 4., the Chase family will host three lunch seatings at Dooky Chase restaurant, featuring a special menu of Mrs. Chase’s favorites, according to the family.
On Saturday, Jan. 5, the family plans a gala dinner, billed as “The Dinner of a Lifetime,” at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
The event includes a cocktail reception and four-course meal prepared by other superstar chefs and colleagues, including dishes inspired by Mrs. Chase herself. Organizers expect a crowd of at least 2,000 people for the Hyatt dinner.
"My mother loves to celebrate her birthday," said daughter Stella Reese in a news release. "The grandchildren actually felt that inviting the community she loves and serves so passionately was the best way to honor her 90 years."
Proceeds from the weekend will seed the Chase family foundation and be used for future awards and activities. The family has set up a web site, which they say should be live by the end of this week, with more details on the birthday events.
For more information, contact Chase's granddaughter Tracie Griffin at 205-283-6005.