Leah Chase spent seven decades serving her signature gumbo and hospitality to everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. to James Baldwin to Barack Obama.

Why you should listen

Leah Chase, known as the "Queen of Creole Cuisine," was the executive chef at Dooky Chase Restaurant in New Orleans from the 1940's until her death in 2019. A longtime advocate for civil rights, her restaurant was a meeting place for the Freedom Riders and prominent civil rights activists -- and one of the first places in the segregated south where blacks and whites could dine together. A lifelong resident of Louisiana, Chase was a patron of local artists, amassing a distinguished collection of African-American art displayed at Dooky Chase. She is widely considered to be a pioneer of soul food and an icon of American cooking.

Leah Chase’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Leah Chase


Brand-new TED Talks from TEDWomen 2017: A note from the curator

December 1, 2017

This year’s TEDWomen in New Orleans was a truly special conference, at a vital moment, and I’m sure the ripples will be felt for a long time to come. The theme this year was bridges: we build them, we cross them, sometimes we even burn them. Our speakers talked about the physical bridges we need […]

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Breathe and push: Notes from Session 6: Rebuild

November 3, 2017

We’ve spent the past few days together thinking on big ideas, hard problems and new visions for what the world might be. What will tie it all together? This session on rebuilding — on facing tough questions and finding the inner (and exterior) resources we need to move forward. Embrace your emotional truth. How we deal […]

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