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On this important episode of The NOLADrinks Show with Bryan Dias, we chat with Chef Dee Lavigne, owner of the Deelightful Roux School of Cooking, and Professor Zella Palmer, chair of the Ray Charles Program in African American Material Culture at Dillard University. We discuss the story of famed New Orleans African American chef and entrepreneur, Lena Richard. Her incredible story is something you need to hear!
Pictured above – (Top square from left) Bryan Dias of The NOLADrinks Show, Chef Dee Lavigne of Deelightful Roux School of Cooking, and Professor Zella Palmer of Dillard University along with pictures of Chef Lena Richard. Lena Richard photos courtesy of Lena Richard papers, Newcomb Archives and Vorhoff Collection, Newcomb Institute of Tulane University.
The NOLADrinks Show with Bryan Dias – Chef Lena Richard – 2022Ep7
We’re back at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFAB) for this fascinating and vital conversation. We discuss the life and legacy of Chef Lena Richard. Born in New Roads, Louisiana in 1892, but moved to New Orleans at an early age, she forged an amazing story as a chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, TV host, and business entrepreneur. She accomplished all this as a black woman in the Jim Crow era South.
Our guests are Chef Dee Lavigne, owner of the Deelightful Roux School of Cooking, and Professor Zella Palmer, chair of the Ray Charles Program in African American Material Culture at Dillard University. We talk about the importance of Lena Richard’s life and the trails she blazed for many. This includes Dee, the first black woman in New Orleans to own a cooking school since Lena Richard did some 80 years before!
We discuss the critical import of discovering (or rediscovering) stories of people like Chef Richard and why it matters to our past, present, and future. We talk about how representation matters and how the contributions of someone like Richard’s are critical to recount when working towards equity, not only in the hospitality and culinary world but in all fields.
Additionally, we learn about our guests’ backgrounds including Zella’s work at the Ray Charles Program in African American Material Culture at Dillard University and Dee’s cooking school located in SoFAB.
This show is part of our ongoing “Sustainability Series” here on The NOLADrinks Show with Bryan Dias, where we focus on social issues in the world of drink, food, and culture. See more here.
Cheers and Be Well, You All