People’s entertainment was around the dinner table. People would visit—‘Who are you going to have dinner with tonight? What are you going to have for dinner? So and so is coming in town next week, what are you going to do about dinner?’
Born and raised in New Orleans, Ell Brennan is the matriarch of one of the region’s most prominent and successful restaurant families. At the age of 19, Brennan began working with her brother, Owen Brennan, who purchased a restaurant in the French Quarter. Since then, she has devoted her life to the restaurant industry.
In 1969 the Brennan family took over Commander’s Palace. That restaurant became Ella Brennan’s priority. Thanks to her, Commander’s Palace is now one of the city’s most beloved restaurants, synonymous with impeccable service and what Brennan calls “Haute Creole” cuisine. In 2002, SFA awarded her the Craig Claiborne Lifetime Achievement Award. She lives in New Orleans.
Date of interview: April 13, 2005 Interviewer: Sarah O'Kelley, SFA Member