Chef Slade Rushing Leaves New Orleans' Brennan's Restaurant

The chef joined the institution at a pivotal point. Now he's pursuing other opportunities

Chef Slade Rushing Leaves New Orleans' Brennan's Restaurant
All eyes are on chef Slade Rushing and his next steps. (Courtesy of Brennan's)
May 23, 2019

A key player in the revival of one of New Orleans' historic restaurants is moving on. Slade Rushing has left his position as executive chef of Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence winner Brennan's Restaurant.

Rushing confirmed to local media that he was pursuing new opportunities and that he was grateful for his time at the restaurant. "Brennan's has been a huge learning curve for me. They have a great team and I know they're going to continue to shine there," he told The New Orleans Advocate.

Rushing was part of a new dawn at Brennan's when he joined in 2014. The landmark was founded by the gregarious restaurateur Owen Brennan in 1946. When he died in 1956, his siblings—Ella, John, Adelaide, Dick and Dottie—took charge. Brennan's gained an international reputation for New Orleans–style hospitality, including lavish breakfasts and the now-classic dessert bananas Foster.

Two decades later, a conflict with Owen's widow and sons led to a family split. Owen's siblings focused on Commander's Palace, a Grand Award winner since 2012. The sons held on to Brennan's and enjoyed decades of success. The restaurant was a longtime Grand Award winner, between 1983 and 2007, but more squabbling within the family sapped the restaurant's quality, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 destroyed the wine cellar. The restaurant ended up in a foreclosure auction in 2013.

Ralph Brennan, John's son and Owen's nephew, bought the building with financial partner Terry White, purchased the name, then spent an estimated $20 million renovating it. His team has rebuilt the wine program, which now offers more than 2,700 selections. He hired Rushing, one of the city's more innovative young chefs, to helm the kitchen.

Prior to his time at Brennan's, Rushing spent seven years operating the New Orleans restaurant MiLa with his wife and fellow chef Allison Vines-Rushing. Before that he worked in well-known spots in New York and San Francisco. He managed to both revitalize Brennan's classics and put creative new dishes on the menu.

Rushing now enters a new chapter in his career. "It was amicable," Ralph Brennan told Wine Spectator. "We all hope that Slade's future endeavors bring him the utmost success, and we look forward to identifying the next generation of culinary leadership for the restaurant." Ryan Hacker, executive sous chef, has taken the helm of the 40-person kitchen for the time being.


Keep up with the latest restaurant news from our award winners: Subscribe to our free Private Guide to Dining newsletter, and follow us on Twitter at WSRestoAwards and on Instagram at wsrestaurantawards.

News New Orleans Restaurant Awards

You Might Also Like

Wildfires Threaten Some of Chile's Oldest Vines

Wildfires Threaten Some of Chile's Oldest Vines

Dozens of fires burning in southern Chile raze farmland, threatening some of the nation's …

Feb 3, 2023
Giuseppe Benanti, Who Helped Spark Mount Etna’s Wine Renaissance, Dies at 78

Giuseppe Benanti, Who Helped Spark Mount Etna’s Wine Renaissance, Dies at 78

The founder of his family’s winery on the slopes of Sicily’s famed volcano believed in its …

Feb 3, 2023
Winery Owner Donald Hess Dies at 86

Winery Owner Donald Hess Dies at 86

The Swiss businessman and art collector built a wine corporation starting in Napa Valley …

Feb 1, 2023
Did the Pineapple Express End California’s Drought?

Did the Pineapple Express End California’s Drought?

Weeks of winter storms replenished reservoirs, but winemakers say it's too soon to know …

Jan 31, 2023
‘Straight Talk’ Podcast Episode 5: The Rhône, Port and Our Wine Value of the Year

‘Straight Talk’ Podcast Episode 5: The Rhône, Port and Our Wine Value of the Year

Tales from the road—from the Rhône, Portugal and Napa—including exclusive interviews with …

Jan 30, 2023
Turning Tables: MaMou Opens in New Orleans with Charlie Trotter’s Alum Heading the Wine Program

Turning Tables: MaMou Opens in New Orleans with Charlie Trotter’s Alum Heading the Wine Program

Plus, the Capital Grille arrives in Kentucky with a February launch in Louisville

Jan 26, 2023