NEW ORLEANS (press release) – The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE) has announced that the 2023 Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award will be presented to chef and mentor Susan Spicer. The gala celebration will take place on January 12 at 7 p.m. at The Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans, with a VIP reception beginning at 6 p.m.
“Chef Spicer has been a ‘culinary’ household name in New Orleans for over three decades,” said Aimee Brown, NOWFE Executive Director. ” She has been entrenched in the New Orleans community and served as a mentor to many up-and-coming chefs over the years. We are proud to present her with this lifetime achievement award.”
Susan Spicer began her cooking career in New Orleans as an apprentice to Chef Daniel Bonnot at the Louis XVI Restaurant in 1979. Her resume includes staging with Chef Roland Durand in Paris, extensive travel in Europe and California, and stints as a chef at Savoire Faire and the Bistro at Maison de Ville in New Orleans. She and Regina Keever partnered to open Bayona in the spring of 1990. With solid support from local diners and critics, Bayona soon earned national attention and countless awards and has been featured in numerous publications. Chef Spicer received the 1993 James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Southeast. Her first book, Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer’s New Orleans, was released in 2007. New Orleans Magazine awarded it Best New Cookbook, and it was also included in Food & Wine’s Best of the Best recipe collection
In May 2010, Chef Spicer was inducted into the James Beard Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America. The same year she launched Mondo, a casual, family-style restaurant that opened in her Lakeview neighborhood. It later relocated to the Louis Armstrong International Airport terminal. She opened her third restaurant, Rosedale, in October 2016, a neighborhood joint in a unique and historic building that serves her style of Louisiana home cooking.
The Ella Brennan Award recognizes one individual each year that has made a lifetime commitment to the hospitality industry through extraordinary leadership, personal and professional accomplishments, and philanthropic contributions to the community. The Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award is named for restaurateur legend Ella Brennan. Her deep passion and commitment have made a significant and longstanding impact on the New Orleans hospitality industry. The award’s past recipients include Chef Paul Prudhomme, philanthropist Bill Goldring, Chef Leah Chase, restaurateurs Drago and Klara Cvitanovich, Audubon leader Ron Forman, local restaurateur Ralph Brennan, celebrity chef and philanthropist Emeril Lagasse, tourism industry icon Mark Romig, and Chef John Folse. In 2021, NOWFE presented the Ella Brennan “Stand Up for Your Hometown Award” to recipients who exhibited unwavering love and extended an extraordinary response to support the New Orleans community during the pandemic. Those recipients included Al Copeland, Jr., Phil Moseley and Ronnie Evans, Robert Peyton and Troy Gilbert, Zeid and Marv Ammari, Erich and Jennifer Weishaupt, Devin De Wulf, Donald Link and Stephen Stryjewski, Jennifer Kelly Killian, Lauren Darnell, Melvin Rodrigue, Zach Strief, Charles Armstrong, and Isaac and Amanda Toups. Chef Frank Brigtsen was the recipient in 2022.
Tickets to the event are available now on nowfe.com for $150 per person or $1,500 per table of 10. VIP tables for 10 are also available for $2,500, and VIP a la carte tickets are available for $250, including entrance to the VIP reception from 6 – 7 p.m. Proceeds from the awards gala benefit the many local non-profit organizations NOWFE supports throughout the year.