Restaurateur Ralph Brennan To Receive NOWFE’s Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement Award

Ralph Brennan

NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE) announced the 2016 Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award will be bestowed on Restaurateur Ralph Brennan.

         The gala celebration will take place on Thursday, October 6, 2016, at 7:00 p.m., at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 921 Canal St.

         “We are thrilled to honor such an industry icon,” Ted Selogie, NOWFE President, said. “Ralph has been on the ground level of so many of our longstanding events—a pioneer in that arena—and has made significant contributions to the hospitality industry and our community during a career spanning nearly four decades.”

         Brennan, a third generation descendant of the family whose name is synonymous with New Orleans restaurants, got his start at the iconic French Quarter establishment that bears that name. Brennan’s Restaurant served as Brennan’s first leap into the hospitality industry. After earning an MBA at Tulane University, he spent eight years as a CPA with Price Waterhouse before returning to the family business. Today, Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group includes Brennan's, Napoleon House, and Red Fish Grill in the French Quarter, Ralph's on the Park in Mid-City New Orleans, café NOMA within the New Orleans Museum of Art, Heritage Grill and café b in Metairie, Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen® in the Downtown Disney® District at the DISNEYLAND® Resort, and Ralph Brennan Catering & Events.

         NOWFE reps said Brennan is a tireless advocate for the restaurant industry and for the city and people of New Orleans, a past president and chairman of the National Restaurant Association, has presided over the Louisiana Restaurant Association and New Orleans Restaurant Association and is the first New Orleans citizen to serve on the governing board of the Culinary Institute of America. He has chaired the board of the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Convention Center, and was a director of the U.S. Travel Association. As a respected veteran restaurateur and the author of the critically acclaimed Ralph Brennan's New Orleans Seafood Cookbook [2008], he provided expert testimony before Congress in the wake of the 2010 BP oil spill. As a private citizen, he makes a point of supporting local businesses, establishments, and markets. Brennan manages over 700 employees, of whom he says, "They're all family, and no one calls me anything but Mr. Ralph.”

         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 Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award is named for restaurateur legend Ella Brennan. Her deep passion and commitment has made a significant and longstanding impact on the New Orleans hospitality industry, NOWFE reps said. The award’s past recipients include Chef Paul Prudhomme, philanthropist Bill Goldring, Chef Leah Chase, restaurateurs Drago and Klara Cvitanovich, and Audubon Nature Institute leader Ron Forman.

         For 24 years the NOWFE has showcased the culinary excellence in the New Orleans community alongside national and international wines at wine dinners in many of the city’s finest restaurants; at VINOLA, a premium tasting event; at the iconic Royal Street Stroll Presented by Rouses; at dozens of culinary seminars and demonstrations; at the Big Gateaux Show; and ultimately at the Grand Tastings.

         NOWFE has raised more than $1 million for local non-profit organizations. In 2015, the Southern Food and Beverage Museum was the beneficiary of 40% of the event proceeds. The remaining 60% was shared by the University of New Orleans, School of Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism Program, Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation's ProStart Program, Delgado Culinary Arts School, New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts’ Culinary Program, the John Folse Culinary Institute and the Edible Schoolyard New Orleans.

         2016 Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award Gala Celebration Premium Tables of 10 with a VIP Reception cost $2,500. Reserved Tables of 10 are $1,500, and single tickets $150 per person.

         Proceeds benefit local culinary education.

         Buy tickets here




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