A Royal Flush

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Ralph Brennan taps award-winning chef Slade Rushing to become Executive Chef of his new Royal Street venture

It'll be déjà vu all over again…when the landmark building, formerly known as Brennan's, opens under new ownership with Ralph Brennan and Terry White, on Royal Street in the French Quarter. Memory will serve you well as you approach the iconic pink building and sense the historic bones of its interior structure. But there will be distinct differences in the design, and more importantly, a fresh, new face at the helm of the kitchen -- fresh, but not new to the ranks of respected chefs in New Orleans. Veteran restaurateur Ralph Brennan, known for finding gifted chefs and giving them a wide breadth of creativity in his various restaurant kitchens around the Crescent City, and his partner Terry White have clear confidence in the quietly ambitious chef Slade Rushing, who will man the post as executive chef of this famous property. Brennan enjoyed several impeccable meals crafted by Rushing, and found his knowledge of ingredients and the style of his preparation at the highest level; attention to detail, after all, it is what separates great chefs from good ones.

Most of the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group chefs are well established in their kitchens, having moved up from within; others have gone on to prosper in their own restaurants around the country. The heat was on for Rushing to find a job as soon as a diploma was in hand from Johnson & Wales, and New Orleans was the first stop on his checklist. This is the true meaning of full circle - young Rushing's first year of chopping, stewing, broiling and frying was also on Royal Street in one of Ralph's kitchens, the longstanding bistro Mr. B's. As a child, he built fond memories when traveling from his family's hometown of Tylertown, Mississippi to New Orleans for celebratory family meals at the fine dining, classic establishments in the French Quarter and on Royal Street. And now, Rushing has dealt his card for a winning hand in his culinary career for a Royal Rush.

Rushing is a perfect addition to the esteemed group, holding a strong reverence for tradition and determined to maintain authenticity with all aspects of the restaurant, while integrating a creative and innovative approach to the menu. "Slade's cuisine is imaginative and ingredient-based, and respects and builds on the tastes and flavors of the local culture," says Brennan. "We're so lucky to have found a chef of his stature and talent who actually has fond memories from his childhood of the classic restaurants of New Orleans the way we all did, and we're excited to taste what he'll do next with our new venture," says White.

Rushing has enjoyed great success in San Francisco with Drew Nieporent then top New York kitchens with Cyril Renaud, Mike Anthony, and Wayne Nish and more recently, closer to home on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain with his former restaurant, Longbranch, and then MiLa, in the Central Business District, both of which he created with his wife, award-winning chef Allison Vines-Rushing. Their cookbook, Southern Comfort: A New Take on the Recipes we Grew Up With [Ten-Speed Press, 2013] was a 2013 James Beard Foundation Award finalist in the "Cookbooks: American Cooking" category.

September could not come fast enough, as Slade is "rushing" to get his menu in place before the iconic doors open once again.

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