by Ian McNulty
James Leeming, chef and co-owner of the Uptown breakfast/lunch favorite Coulis, died this week. On Thursday night Brigtsen’s Restaurant will hold a benefit for his young family.
Leeming, a native of Nicaragua, had a long run in local fine-dining circles before opening Coulis in the former address of the Bluebird Café.
He made a lot of friends along the way in his career, including Marna and Frank Brigtsen, owners of Brigtsen’s, where he worked as sous chef. They’ve pledged to donate 100 percent of sales of bottled wine at Brigtsen’s on Thursday, July 30, to Leeming’s wife and eight-year-old son. If you're dining out on Thursday, this makes an easy way to lend a hand.
Before his time at Brigtsen’s, Leeming spent a dozen years at Commander's Palace, where his position as saucier earned him the nickname "Coulis," a handle he chose as the name for his own restaurant. Coulis opened in October 2009 and caught on quickly. Soon, a line of people formed out front for his weekend brunch, much like they did in the building’s old Bluebird days.
The Times Picayune has Leeming’s obit.
Reservations are always recommended at Brigtsen’s, so call 504-861-7610 for a table at Thursday night’s wine benefit.