Richard “Dickie” Brennan, Jr.  

Independent Restaurants

A third-generation New Orleans restaurateur of the famed Brennan family, Dickie worked with Commander’s Palace as they led the American Regional Cuisine movement by introducing the world to Cajun and Creole cooking. After graduating college, Dickie joined Larry Forgione’s An American Place in New York City. He later moved to France, where he worked and studied in six different kitchens to gain exposure and broaden his knowledge as a chef. In 1991, Dickie helped open Palace Café and later became Executive Chef, then Owner. 

With his sister, Lauren Brower, and business partner, Steve Pettus, Dickie went on to open Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse, Bourbon House, Tableau, Acorn Café (adjacent to the Louisiana Children’s Museum), The Commissary Market + Kitchen, and Dickie Brennan’s Catering & Events.  Although each restaurant has its own distinct identity and cuisine, each shares the common thread of holding true to Louisiana’s culinary history through the use of local ingredients and techniques. 

As an ambassador for New Orleans and its unique culture, Dickie is an avid supporter of local farmers and fisherman and has taken an active role in trying to preserve heirloom varieties of Louisiana produce. During his career, he has served as President of the New Orleans Restaurant Association, President of the Louisiana Restaurant Association, Chair of the Downtown Development District, and Chair of the New Orleans Tourism & Marketing Corporation, as well as a member of the James Beard Foundation Board of Trustees.   

He is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Restaurant Association, where he had served as their ambassador to the Canadian Restaurant Association.  He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the National Restaurant Association- Educational Foundation, Louisiana Restaurant Association, Edible Schoolyard Task Force, The Pontchartrain Conservancy (Secretary), and in 2021 served as Chair of the Louisiana Tourism Association (LTA), where he remains an active participant today.  

In His Own Words

How did you get your start in the foodservice industry? 
I grew up two blocks from my family’s restaurant, Commander’s Palace, where I worked under the tutelage of Chef Paul Prudhomme as the restaurant introduced the world to Cajun and Creole cooking.  

What do you enjoy most about your career in foodservice? 
People and Food. (1) I love the people I work with, and I love giving our guests a great restaurant experience. (2) I’m a cook! I love sourcing the best foods available, creating a delicious meal, and seeing someone enjoying a good moment.  

Tell us about a proud moment you’ve had along the way. 
Watching both of my children graduate from the Culinary Institute of America.  

How would your team describe you as a leader? 
Inclusive and always sharing a new idea.  

What advice do you have for someone new to the foodservice industry? 
Get out of your four walls. Explore the food world and bring it back to your guests.   

What does being an IFMA Silver Plate recipient mean to you? 
It is such an honor for me. There is nothing better than being recognized by your peers.  

What is your favorite meal? 
As I mentioned before, I’m a cook. Therefore, whatever is in season and peaking is always my favorite.