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Chef Lena Richard's potato puffs recipe

Chef Dee Lavigne celebrates the legacy of a New Orleans culinary pioneer by cooking one of her dishes

NEW ORLEANS — Chef Lena Richard was a culinary pioneer - a Black chef and entrepreneur in New Orleans who owned and operated catering businesses, restaurants, a cooking school and an international frozen food business. 

According to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, in 1939, she self-published a cookbook, which was republished by Houghton Mifflin under the title New Orleans Cook Book in 1940, the first Creole cookbook written by a Black author. She also became one of the country's first TV chefs, when she appeared on WDSU, New Orleans' first television station, in 1949.

On Aug. 5, Chef Dee Lavigne, of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and Deelightful Desserts, will appear in a virtual event at the Smithsonian to celebrate Chef Richard's legacy. 

On the Eyewitness Morning News, she prepared this dish from Chef Richard's cookbook.

Potato Puffs 

Makes about 24 puffs


6 medium-sized potatoes (cooked and peeled)
4 Tbsp butter
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp white pepper
2 tsp salt


Mash potatoes well. 

Add milk, egg, butter and baking powder. Stir well. Season with salt and pepper. 

On a parchment lined or well-greased sheet pan, drop large spoonfuls of potato mixture or pipe them out with a pastry bag. 

Bake puffs at 425* on the top rack of the oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.


For more information on the Aug. 5 event, "Lena Richard's New Orleans Cook Book: A Groundbreaking Story of Innovation and Resilience," click here.

Chef Lena Richard's New Orleans Cook Book is available from Pelican Publishing.