NEW ORLEANS — Leon Rene Galatoire, the former chef and manager of the beloved French Quarter restaurant Galatoire's, died on Friday of liver disease at 68, according to our partners at NOLA.com.
During his career at the restaurant from 1976 to 1996, Galatoire became not just an accomplished chef but also as a nighttime front-of-the-house manager.
Cousin and fellow employee David Gooch said that Galatoire was an expert at not just food but at providing a fun experience for customers.
“He always made people laugh and put them at ease,” Gooch said.
Galatoire was a descendant of Jean Galatoire, the restaurant's founder. His uncle Rene Galatoire was the manager and his father Gabriel Rene Galatoire was dining room manager.
Galatoire went to high school in Mississippi and went to college at Loyola University.
He would meet his future wife, Lisa Pique, during this time, as she was the daughter of the owner of Pique's Wharf, a West End restaurant where Galatoire waited tables while in college.
Galatoire remained an in-demand celebrity chef after his retirement and would cook at country club functions across the United States until his health started declining.
Galatoire is survived by his wife, Lisa Pique Galatoire, and stepsons David Doherty and Michael Doherty, all of Covington; his sister, Michele Marie Galatoire of New Orleans, and his half-sister, Rene Hotard Bennett of St. Louis.