New Orleans restaurateur Ella Brennan is the subject of a new documentary. The so-called grande dame of the New Orleans dining scene is the highlight of filmmaker Leslie Iwerks’ new
movie, which is set to be released this fall.
Brennan, who turned 90 last year, started working as a teenager in her brother Owen’s restaurant and bar in the French Quarter before going on to become the proprietor of Commander’s Palace and the matriarch of her family’s restaurant dynasty. The chefs whom Brennan hired and mentored — most notably the late Paul Prudhomme — have been credited with revolutionizing Creole cuisine. In 2009, Brennan received the James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award for her efforts in hospitality.
A two-minute trailer for the film includes several cameos from local and national chefs and restaurateurs singing Brennan's praises, including Emeril Lagasse, Tory McPhail, Danny Meyer and Daniel Boulud.
“There’s no way you can talk about New Orleans without talking about Ella,” Meyer is quoted saying in the short.
“I don’t even know if she owns a pan,” Bagasse says, "but she has one of the most amazing palates that I’ve ever ran into, ever.”
Watch the trailer for Iwerks' film here