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Commander's Palace

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A Grande Dame of Dining Embraces What's Next

Meg Bickford Becomes Top Chef at Commander's Palace in New Orleans

Texans love New Orleans. In fact, more people from Texas visit the Big Easy each year than from any other state, according to University of New Orleans Hospitality Research Center. Though many of us make a point of visiting frequently, it's difficult for anyone to say they understand the foodways of this premiere culinary city—where it’s been and where it’s going--if they've never dined at Commander’s Palace. 

Not just for its jazz brunch--though Commander’s pioneered the concept and sets the standard for opulent, weekend daytime dining. (DO order the bread pudding souffle!) Commander’s Palace is known for far more. 

Today’s culinary landscape in New Orleans has evolved immensely over the last decade--an exciting, crowded field of chefs and restaurants, with a rich array of influences and cutting edge concepts making their way to the forefront in a city whose passion has always been cooking.

You can sample classic Creole at one of several historically significant "Grande Dame" restaurants, where the menus are delicious monuments to the way things were. But Commander’s Palace, opened in 1893, has accomplished the feat of taking the rich old past and making it relevant and modern—innovating a “haute Creole” style that features sophisticated dishes which are also freshly conceived, locally sourced, and a feast for the eyes in that Instagram-able way that has become a requirement. 

The credit goes to co-proprietors Ti Adelaide Martin and Lally Brennan, two members of the Brennan family of restaurateurs, which has owned Commander’s since 1974. And, in a fabled kitchen previously run by the likes of James Beard Award-winners Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse, and Tory McPhail--Meg Bickford was recently named executive chef, the first woman to take the helm. 

Bickford says that as Covid has lifted, a burst of culinary creativity has been unleashed in the city, and Commander’s Palace looks forward to continuing to preserve and innovate.

On being the first female top chef at the restaurant, Meg says, “I’m proud and very fortunate. This restaurant has been run by intelligent, powerful, creative women for a very long time. Ella [Brennan] paved the way for current owners, Ti and Lally. And our CFO and directors of hospitality and marketing are women. I’m in an amazing group of people!” 

  • Commander's Palace
  • Executive Chef Meg Bickford