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Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: jkelley@wwltv.com | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

NEW ORLEANS -- He has been all over the world and prepared meals for many prominent public figures, but for one local chef, nothing beats the honor of meeting Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela -- it's a name that goes hand in hand with freedom and equality. As South Africa's first black president, he will forever be known as the peaceful force behind the anti-apartheid struggle.

'His name will never be forgotten because he has changed how people think,' said local chef and restaurant owner Dominique Marquet.

It is a name that will never be forgotten by Dominique Marquet. He says the biggest honor of his life is knowing Nelson Mandela.

He did not know when they met, but he would witness history in the making as he cooked and served Mandela his first meal after his release from prison.

'I was not a chosen one, but I was there during this incredible turn-of-a-century event,' said Marquet.

Marquet said it was an unforgettable experience, one that continues to inspire him both in the kitchen and in life.

'To meet him was incredible because he is a person that when you meet him, he asks you, how is your family?'

Over the years he has remained close to Mandela and his foundation. In fact he was invited back to Mandela's home as the guest chef during the 10th anniversary of South Africa's first free election back in 2004.

'He is just one of those magical persons that cares about everybody else.'

For that, Marquet says he has lived a beautiful life, a life of change and one that has changed his own.

If you are wondering what Marquet served Nelson Mandela after his release from captivity, he says it was a South African version of shrimp remoulade with mix berries for dessert.

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