Most days, you can find Leah Chase either greeting guests at her landmark restaurant Dooky Chase (2301 Orleans Ave., 821-0600) or at work in her kitchen, chopping trinity, tending gumbo pots and generally steering the ship.
On Sunday, Oct. 23, from noon to 2 p.m., however, the place to find this living legend of New Orleans cuisine will be the Ogden Museum of Southern Art (925 Camp St., 539-9650; www.ogdenmuseum.org). Chase will be taking part in the museum's ongoing "Southern Storytellers" series, for which she's paired up with culinary historian Jessica B. Harris.
It promises to be an intimate audience with two women who have a lot to say about what goes into a meal beyond the obvious ingredients.
Harris is the author of nearly a dozen books documenting the culinary traditions of the African diaspora. Chase has several cookbooks to her credit, but her biggest impact has been at her restaurant, and that hasn't been limited to what she puts on the plate.
As the civil rights movement began revving up in the 1960s, Dooky Chase Restaurant emerged as a meeting place for its organizers and leaders and as a safe haven for people from the white and black communities to gather. Earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana presented Chase with its highest honor, the Ben Smith Award, for her work promoting racial equality.
Next week's Ogden event takes place around lunchtime, and food will be available for purchase in the museum. Admission is $10 general admission and free for Ogden members.