A Visit with Two Badass New Orleans Chefs in Their Kitchen
Who: Slade Rushing, executive chef at Brennan’s, and Allison Vines-Rushing, chef at Port City
Where: New Orleans, Louisiana
Slade Rushing and Allison Vines-Rushing are kind of a big deal. In New Orleans, yes, but also in the greater food world.
The husband-and-wife team made a name for themselves at Jack’s Luxury Oyster Bar in New York (now closed), then solidified their power couple status at MiLa in New Orleans (also closed). Allison earned a James Beard Award (Best Rising Chef of the Year) while at Jack’s, and Slade was nominated for a Beard in his current role as the executive chef of Brennan’s.
Now, if you live in New Orleans, you have almost certainly eaten at Brennan family restaurant. Ditto if you have ever visited New Orleans. And even if you have only thought about making the trip down to the Big Easy, chances are you have heard of a restaurant run by someone with a connection to the Brennan family.
The point is: Brennan is a name that means something in New Orleans. So being the executive chef of Brennan’s, the original fine-dining establishment responsible for starting the empire (and inventing bananas foster!) really means something.
But here’s the thing that’s so great about Slade and Allison: They don’t act like they’re a big deal. When we visited them in their home, in New Orleans’ Broadmoor neighborhood, they brewed us coffee, fed us oysters, and dished on the miracles that are pancakes and wine delivery.
A Visit with Slade Rushing, Allison Vines-Rushing & Their Kitchen
Who cooks and eats here?
Slade: Allison and I do the cooking. We feed mainly our kids (two), family, and friends.
What do you like to cook?
Allison: We do pancakes or French toast from scratch, almost every morning. The whole thing with toddlers is that they don’t eat that much, and mine aren’t an exception. The griddle gets an incredible workout.
We sometimes get pho delivered from Namese. It’s Vietnamese, but it’s kinda modern. And we get wine delivered frequently.
Tell us a little about your kitchen: Has it always looked this way?
Slade: We bought the house April 2012, so about five years ago.
Allison: When we first moved in, we had a dorm fridge and we grilled everything. We made do.
Slade: We did a kitchen renovation in 2013, adding new countertops, a BlueStar range, and bar seating.
Allison: It was pretty minimal — we didn’t change anything as far as cabinetry — but it was a big change for not that much stuff done.
What’s the smartest thing about your kitchen?
Allison: There’s not a lot of storage, so Slade put in a pegboard, which really helps.
Slade: Since the chimney is too fragile for high heat, we placed a heat lamp inside to use for proofing dough or keeping food warm.
What’s your favorite thing about your kitchen?
Slade: We have the Gerard’s Downtown sign from the restaurant Allison and I first met at as young cooks.
Allison: I bake a lot now with two small children, so I have an area designated just for pastry, including a large wood-topped Boos block table for rolling pastas or tarts. My favorite tool is my copper KitchenAid mixer; it is a beautiful workhorse.
Thanks for the visit, Slade and Allison!