A film by Academy Award® and Emmy-Nominated Director Leslie Iwerks. Official Selection of the 2017 Miami International Film Festival.
Directed by Academy Award® and Emmy®-Nominated director Leslie Iwerks, and narrated by Academy Award® and Tony Award®-Nominated actress Patricia Clarkson, Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table is the behind the scenes story of ‘Commander’s Palace’ restaurateur Ella Brennan, one of America’s foremost restaurateurs whose life work has cemented New Orleans as a star on the nation’s culinary map. Among the many people that Brennan has influenced, the film features interviews with Emeril Lagasse, Paul Prudhomme, Daniel Boulud, Danny Meyer, Drew Nieporent and Julia Reed.
When 18-year old Ella Brennan went to work at her family’s bar on Bourbon Street in New Orleans in the 1940’s, America had no idea what was about to hit the culinary world. While overcoming a lifetime of personal and family struggles, she persevered to not only raise the bar in the New Orleans culinary world, she launched the careers of Paul Prudhomme, Emeril Lagasse, Tory McPhail, among others, created iconic dishes from scratch that have since become world famous, and built two of America’s most renown restaurants from the ground up; Brennan’s and Commander’s Palace. Through it all, Ella Brennan was driven by one goal: to bring true hospitality and the finest dining experience to The Big Easy. In addition, to the feature film, Brennan is the subject and co-author of a new memoir, co-written with Ti Martin, Brennan’s daughter and co-proprietor of the Commander’s Family of Restaurants, Miss Ella of Commander’s Palace. The book was released in September 2016 and was a finalist in the Best Business: General category by “Best Book” Awards.
Ella Brennan is a household name in the restaurant industry. Known today as the inspirational matriarch of the rambling Brennan family of New Orleans and the force of nature behind first Brennan’s and then Commander’s Palace. Fired by her family at one point, she shouldered on. She was the creator of elaborate New Orleans breakfasts and jazz brunches and revolutionized creole cuisine. A pioneer of the modern American food movement, she pushed her chefs to the forefront helping to launch the celebrity chef phenomenon.
What many don’t know is that when Ella Brennan was a teenager in 1940’s New Orleans, the city’s food and drink business was in its infant stage, generating less than a million dollars a year. Today, it has grown into a billion-dollar industry for the city, many crediting the Brennan family, guided by Ella for pushing Creole wining and dining into the American mainstream and creating a lasting impact on how Americans eat and drink.
Interviews and verite footage with current and former chefs from Commander’s Palace, restaurateurs, peers, family and friends will provide past and present glimpses into Ella’s unique life and world. This is the intimate and triumphant story of a groundbreaking American woman.
Miami International Film Festival Screenings: