“We changed the world over a bowl of gumbo” is how chef Leah Chase (1923–2019) recalled the strategy sessions led by civil rights leaders at Dooky Chase’s restaurant.
Known as “The Queen of Creole Cuisine,” Chase brought New Orleans Creole cooking to international attention. She and her husband, jazz musician Edgar “Dooky” Chase II, converted a New Orleans sandwich shop, opened by her plucky mother-in-law in the early 1940s, into a fine-dining establishment with crisp, white tablecloths and signature works by African American artists.
Pictured above is Chase’s red chef’s jacket, which is in the collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Read more about Chase on the Because of Her Story website and view her portrait at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.