When Susan Spicer hit the New Orleans culinary scene, her innovative approach to food and hospitality put her in the forefront of the city’s chefs. On Jan. 12, Spicer received the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience’s 2023 Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award at a gala at the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans.
“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,” said Aimee Brown, NOWFE’s executive director.
The Ella Brennan Award recognizes one individual each year who has made a lifetime commitment to the hospitality industry through extraordinary leadership, personal and professional accomplishments, and philanthropic contributions to the community. The award is named after the late Ella Brennan, whose impact on the New Orleans hospitality industry was significant and continues to be so.
Among Spicer’s many accomplishments, she opened Bayona with Regina Keever in 1990, then launched Mondo in 2010 — the same year she was inducted into the James Beard Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America — followed by opening Rosedale in 2016. Spicer won the 1993 James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Southeast and her first book, Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer’s New Orleans, was released in 2007.
In addition to receiving the award, Spicer had the honor of many of her fellow chefs in attendance, with a group creating a special menu for the event: Four Seasons New Orleans/David Harrower; Atachafalya/Christopher Lynch; Bijou/Eason Barksdale; Chemin À La Mer/Donald Link, Justin Koslowsky; Commander’s Palace/Meg Bickford; Dickie Brennan & Company/Dickie Brennan; Herbsaint/Tyler Spreen; Miss River/Alon Shaya, Aleksandre Nadirashvili; Mopho/Paul Chell; Palm&Pine/Amarys Koenig Herndon and Jordan Herndon.
Proceeds from the awards gala benefit the many local nonprofit organizations NOWFE supports throughout the year.
NOWFE is celebrating its 31st anniversary, returning June 7-11 featuring food and wine from around the world at a variety of events such as the popular Grand Tasting.