Campus News

Dillard alumnus and his legendary family launches national cooking series

Edgar “Dook” Chase IV drizzles sauce over a delectable dish. Photo: Laura Combel.


June 19, 2023
Contact: Danielle Miller,


NEW ORLEANS – Dillard alumnus Edgar “Dook” Chase IV ‘04 and the Chase family has launched a national cooking series, “The Dooky Chase Kitchen: Leah’s legacy,” premiering on WYES-TV on Saturdays at 10 a.m. and repeat on Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

The 26-part cooking series, produced by WYES-TV in New Orleans, provides an historic look into the legendary restaurant and family, and celebrates Leah Chase, the “Queen of Creole Cuisine.” The series was shot on location at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant with dishes prepared by younger generations of the Chase family who have led the restaurant since Leah’s death in 2019.

Viewers will meet Leah’s grandson, “Dook,” who now oversees the restaurant’s kitchen; her niece Cleo Robinson, who joined Leah in the kitchen in 1980; and the restaurant’s newest chef, Leah’s great-granddaughter Zoe Chase. Paired with some of the menus are specialty cocktails crafted by Leah’s granddaughter Eve Marie Haydel, the restaurant’s beverage manager who has updated drink recipes from the restaurant’s earlier days. Granddaughter, Chase Kamata, narrates. Each 30-minute episode explores a new take on Creole classics and a different chapter of the restaurant’s history. 

Dooky Chase’s restaurant, which was founded in 1941, continues to service the community. During the Civil Rights Era, Dooky’s was one of the few places that allowed both Black & white civil rights leaders to meet and strategize, which was illegal at the time. But Dooky’s has always maintained a mission of service for all. Dooky’s has had the great fortune of serving many dignitaries, presidents, and celebrities, but always maintained the priority of service to the community first.

On an episode about distinguished guests, the Chase chefs will share a recipe for Grits and Quail that Leah served at the restaurant  in 2008 to President George W. Bush during a North America Leaders’ Summit. In another episode, the  restaurant’s significant place in the history of the Civil Rights Movement is commemorated with preparation of  Creole Gumbo, a dish Leah served to Martin Luther King Jr. and other social activists when they held strategy  sessions in the restaurant’s upstairs dining room in the 1960s. Today Dooky Chase remains a crossroads of  culture and community, where gumbo is still a favorite of customers from all walks of life. 

For her work in the culinary arts and for her many acts of kindness, Leah Chase earned numerous accolades,  including the 2016 James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award. A painting by Gustave Blache III of Leah at work in  the Dooky Chase kitchen is on display in the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian, where she takes her  place alongside other Americans recognized for their character and achievement. 

Leah continues to inspire people through food that is now prepared by those who carry on her unwavering  commitment to the people of New Orleans. Dook Chase speaks for the family when he says, “My grandmother’s  motto that she lived by was ‘pray, work and do for others.’ That was a seed planted into us and what we continue to live by.”

Dook explained that it wasn’t until after Hurricane Katrina that he fully transitioned into the culinary business.  “I wanted to help my grandparents get back open and then I found my place in the kitchen, eventually, attending culinary school at the Le Cordon Bleu, Paris France,” Dook said. 

In addition to the Chase family’s legacy in New Orleans’ culinary scene, several members of their family began writing their legacy at Dillard University. Dook’s father worked as the dean of business, and several of his family members attended Dillard, including his wife, Gretchen Chase. The former finance and economics major recalled the support he received on campus and the faculty’s commitment to creating a well rounded student.

Dook encourages any person interested in the culinary arts to start cooking. “In any craft or industry, you have to practice and continue to learn. Culinary School is a great tool that teaches you the foundation and confidence to approach a kitchen. But, it’s your continuous learning and development, and work ethic that will help you succeed,” he said. 

Dillard’s Ray Charles program in African American Material Culture is an excellent resource for students who want to learn more about the culinary industry. Students research, document, disseminate, preserve, and celebrate African American culture and foodways in the South.

In addition to the cooking series, there is a companion cookbook for sale. Originally released in 1990 by Leah Chase, the new cookbook has been revised with all 81 recipes, including the cocktail recipes, from the 2023 series.  The cookbook has a total of 252 recipes.

About Dillard University
Dillard University is a historically Black institution that cultivates leaders who live ethically, think and communicate precisely, and act courageously to make the world a better place. Located in New Orleans, Dillard is a private faith-based liberal arts university that offers 22 majors and two certificate programs. Ranked 5th on 2021 The New York Times Overall Mobility Index and 14th in 2022 by Academic Influence for Best Colleges and Universities by Academic Stewardship, Dillard’s call to future leaders is to Write Your Legacy. Find out more about Louisiana’s oldest HBCU by visiting