UNCF Remembers Leah Chase | UNCF

UNCF Remembers Leah Chase

The renowned chef, philanthropist and activist was a long-time UNCF supporter.


Mrs. Leah Chase, the James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and civil rights activist, died Saturday, June 1. She was 96 years old.

The legendary Leah Chase played a major role in supporting education in the city of New Orleans, and worked with UNCF New Orleans for many years. She had an outstanding commitment to service to many and was an indispensable figure in the Civil Rights movement.

Leah Chase (seated) with Amb. and Mrs. Andrew Young and former Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

In New Orleans, Mrs. Chase was one of the city’s favorite celebrity chefs, who prepared the dinner courses for the New Orleans UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball since the first event in 2014.  An inspiration in and outside of the kitchen, she always gave the attendees of the Masked Ball food for thought, as well as memorable dining experiences.  LaJuana Chenier, Regional Development Director for UNCF New Orleans, remembers one year when Mrs. Chase told the audience, “ There are a lot of beautiful fancy ball gowns in this room and I want all of you to save those dresses and wear them next year and take the money you would have spent on a new gown and give it to UNCF to help all of these deserving students to get a college education.”

Leah Chase, lovingly referred to as the Queen of Creole Cuisine, was the executive chef and co-owner of the historic and legendary Dooky Chase’s Restaurant,” her family said in a written statement. “Her daily joy was not simply cooking, but preparing meals to bring people together. One of her most prized contributions was advocating for the Civil Rights Movement through feeding those on the front lines of the struggle for human dignity. She saw her role and that of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant to serve as a vehicle for social change during a difficult time in our country’s history.”


In 2017,  Mrs. Chase was selected as the  UNCF Masked Award recipient. (click to view)

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