Ella Brennan Honored at Beard Awards

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The results are in for the James Beard Foundation awards, which were doled out last night at an event in New York. None of the New Orleans restaurants, chefs, food writers or documentary filmmakers nominated for awards got the nod, though the city was well-represented in other ways.

New Orleans-based chef Emeril Lagasse was master of ceremonies for the evening, and Ella Brennan, the restaurateur he credits as an early mentor, received the culinary organization's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Ella Brennan is a partner in the Commander's Palace Family of Restaurants and earned the award the foundation gives "to an individual whose lifetime body of work has had a positive and long-lasting impact on the way we eat, cook, and/or think about food in America."

She started in the business in 1943 at age 18 at her brother Owen Brennan's bar, the Old Absinthe House. She has owned and operated Commander's Palace since 1969.

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