Longtime Commander’s Palace chef departs, and for first time a woman leads the kitchen | Where NOLA Eats

For the first time in almost two decades, Commander’s Palace has a new chef. For the first time in the famous restaurant’s long history that chef is a woman.

Tory McPhail, executive chef since 2002, has resigned and is moving to Montana, where he will work with a local restaurant group in the mountain town of Bozeman.


Chef Meg Bickford of Commander’s Palace restaurant in New Orleans, Oct. 2020.

His successor at Commander’s Palace is Meg Bickford, who was previously executive sous chef.

Bickford, 34, has risen through the ranks at Commander’s Palace and is now the first woman to lead the landmark restaurant’s kitchen.

To Bickford, that speaks to a culture of mentoring at Commander’s Palace and to its family leadership. The restaurant is run today by Ti Martin and Lally Brennan, cousins who grew up in the restaurant.

“I’ve had a lot of opportunities to grow here, and a lot of people who invested the time and effort and who believed in me,” Bickford said. “That’s what we do here, and that’s why I’m in this position today.”

Passing the torch

Bickford’s new position is among the most prominent in the New Orleans culinary world, with a role that goes beyond directing its sprawling kitchen.

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Commander’s Palace was voted tops in four categories, including Best new Orleans Restaurant.

Commander’s Palace is a byword for New Orleans fine dining and among the best-known restaurants in the region. Though its history goes back to 1893, it became an emblem of modern New Orleans cuisine in the 1970s after the Brennan family acquired the vintage restaurant. It pioneered haute Creole cuisine, which reshaped the national reputation of New Orleans food from a bulwark of tradition to a hotbed of innovation.

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Commander’s Palace chef Paul Prudhomme instructs apprentices in the restaurant’s kitchen. Prudhomme, then-executive chef at Commander’s Palace Restaurant, had eight apprentices working under him.

Commander’s Palace has produced some of the world’s most famous chefs, namely Paul Prudhomme and his immediate successor, Emeril Lagasse. At the same time, the restaurant has held a reputation as the “finishing school” for New Orleans culinary talent, for the generations of hospitality pros who have come through its doors.

Matriarch and mentor: How Ella Brennan’s belief in mentoring profoundly impacted culinary life of New Orleans

Ella Brennan has an expression she uses to describe her favorite chefs, especially those she worked with closely at Commander’s Palace.

That role is foremost in Bickford’s mind as she steps into the kitchen’s highest position. She acknowledges the issues of equality and inclusion now running through American discourse, and she’s driven by the potential she sees to do more.

“We need to recognize our responsibilities to our people, in our community and in our workplace,” Bickford said.

“I love that our leaders have stepped up. Our business has to reflect our community. Diversity is incredibly important to me and to this business. I also think we need to do a better job than what we’re doing, and

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Udall Leads Short List of Candidates for Biden’s Interior Secretary

(Bloomberg) — Retiring Senator Tom Udall is leading a short list of candidates to run the Interior Department if Joe Biden wins the presidency next month — a role that would put him to work in a building named for his father.

Udall, a New Mexico Democrat, is a top contender to be Biden’s secretary of the Interior and would consider the role if asked, according to people familiar with the matter who sought anonymity to discuss the personnel search.

Tom Udall wearing a suit and tie: Senate Passes Measure To Limit Trump On Iran That Faces Veto

© Bloomberg
Senate Passes Measure To Limit Trump On Iran That Faces Veto

Senator Tom Udall

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

“It’s hard to find someone who’s been a bigger champion of public lands than Tom Udall, whether you’re talking about in his state, New Mexico, or nationwide, advocating for the Arctic refuge and fighting climate change,” said Athan Manuel, director of the Sierra Club’s land protection program. “It’s in his genes.”

Representative Deb Haaland, another Democrat from New Mexico, and Representative Raul Grijalva, a Democrat from Arizona who leads the House Natural Resources Committee, also have won praise from environmental groups and been recommended to head the Interior Department.

The agency acts as the nation’s landlord, overseeing grazing, recreation, energy development and other activities on about a fifth of the U.S. The department also is in charge of the national park system and regulates energy development in coastal waters, including offshore wind farms and drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tom Udall’s father, Stewart Udall, was Interior secretary from 1961 to 1969 and is credited with a major expansion in federal land protection, including the creation of dozens of wildlife refuges, national parks and recreation areas. He died in 2010, and the agency’s headquarters building in Washington was named for him three months later.

Under President Donald Trump, the Interior Department has encouraged mining and drilling for oil and gas on federal real estate, while creating new hunting and fishing opportunities at wildlife refuges and hatcheries. Under Biden, the department would take a sharp left turn, pivoting to focus aggressively on conservation while clamping down on drilling.

“If we’re going to save the human species and save animal species, we need to take dramatic action,” Udall said Monday, during an online event environmental groups organized to celebrate the lawmaker’s legacy.

Udall spokesman Ned Adriance declined to answer questions about the senator’s potential role as Interior secretary. “Right now, Senator Udall is focused on a strong finish to his Senate term, and he’s also working hard to help the Biden-Harris ticket win New Mexico, win the West and win the election,” Adriance said.

Udall has laid out plans to enlist federal lands in the fight against climate change — transforming the territory into uninterrupted habitat for vulnerable species and a sponge for carbon dioxide instead of a prime U.S. source of fossil fuels and the greenhouse gas emissions that come from burning them.

Read: The Crown Jewel of the Shale Patch Braces for a Biden Ban

It’s a prospect that terrifies

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Trump effort to bar racial-sensitivity trainings in federal government leads to confusion for employees

“I ended it because a lot of people were complaining that they were asked to do things that were absolutely insane, that it was a radical revolution that was taking place in our military, in our schools all over the place,” Trump said. “And you know it. And so does everybody.”

Democratic nominee Joe Biden alleged, however, that Trump had a much different motive for banning the trainings: “He’s a racist.”

Their comments came one day after the White House issued its second set of guidelines on the attempted bans. The guidelines outlined how the government would retaliate against those who did not follow the new restrictions.

They have raised numerous questions inside government agencies about how to proceed. It also triggered a backlash within the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, with some career employees complaining policy is being set based on what the president sees on conservative cable networks — and OMB officials are happily going along with it.

Russell Vought, OMB’s director, updated the administration’s guidance after the National Park Service sent agency officials a memo last week suspending hundreds of training programs while it tried to understand how to comply with the order, according to emails and documents reviewed by The Washington Post. It would later narrow the list of suspended courses, but some employees said they still included ones on sexual harassment, tribal consultation and how to respond to people with disabilities.

The White House orders have led to scrambling throughout the government.

Meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the government’s second-largest agency and among the most decentralized, abruptly canceled a diversity training program at the VA hospital in West Palm Beach, Fla. This decision was made by the agency’s Washington headquarters after a conservative activist flagged the event on Twitter.

The chain of events stems from a Sept. 4 memo Vought issued, which said Trump had asked him to stop federal agencies from giving employee trainings on “white privilege” and critical race theory. Vought cast this approach as “divisive” and “un-American.”

The White House issued the memo after Fox News ran a number of segments criticizing “diversity and inclusion” efforts in the federal government.

Trump saw one of the cable news programs and asked aides, “What is this crap?” an administration official said, describing his reaction, and he directed OMB to cancel the seminars. Trump saw the matter as a winning campaign issue. Within days, a guest on Fox News who raised the issue had been called, Vought had been summoned to the Oval Office, and the memo from OMB had been drafted. It was released late on a Friday night.

Trump followed up with an executive order last week barring federal contractors from using workplace training that includes what he called “race or sex stereotyping or any form of race or sex scapegoating.” The president has also asked other aides what else can be done to make sure agencies are complying.

The White House directives attempt to create significant penalties for federal

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Rushil Decor Ltd leads gainers in ‘B’ group

Mazda Ltd, Bhansali Engineering Polymers Ltd, Happiest Minds Technologies Ltd and Compuage Infocom Ltd are among the other gainers in the BSE’s ‘B’ group today, 25 September 2020.

Rushil Decor Ltd soared 13.62% to Rs 78.4 at 12:08 IST. The stock was the biggest gainer in the BSE’s ‘B’ group. On the BSE, 1915 shares were traded on the counter so far as against the average daily volumes of 5373 shares in the past one month.

Mazda Ltd surged 11.44% to Rs 505.95. The stock was the second biggest gainer in ‘B’ group. On the BSE, 3874 shares were traded on the counter so far as against the average daily volumes of 1518 shares in the past one month.

Bhansali Engineering Polymers Ltd spiked 11.41% to Rs 71.75. The stock was the third biggest gainer in ‘B’ group. On the BSE, 1.59 lakh shares were traded on the counter so far as against the average daily volumes of 84637 shares in the past one month.

Happiest Minds Technologies Ltd gained 10.80% to Rs 373.8. The stock was the fourth biggest gainer in ‘B’ group. On the BSE, 12.11 lakh shares were traded on the counter so far as against the average daily volumes of 25.41 lakh shares in the past one month.

Compuage Infocom Ltd jumped 9.98% to Rs 14.32. The stock was the fifth biggest gainer in ‘B’ group. On the BSE, 20881 shares were traded on the counter so far as against the average daily volumes of 47312 shares in the past one month.

Source: Capitalmarket.com

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‘Birthday Girl’ Desperate for the Bathroom Leads Police on High Speed Chase

When you gotta go, you gotta go. A woman in Enid, Oklahoma led police on a high speed chase on her 28th birthday, all because she really needed to get home in time to go to the bathroom.

Local outlet KFOR said that Emily Owings was pulled over for a pretty standard traffic stop: she wasn’t wearing her seatbelt. Unfortunately, the only ID she had on her was her medical marijuana card. When police searched for the driver, they found out that her driver’s license had been suspended. According to an Enid Police Department Facebook post, the whole ordeal began at about 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.

In police footage shared by KFOR, an officer informs Owings that her license is suspended. When she asks why, the officer says that he doesn’t know but was “waiting to see if [she] had warrants through Woods County.”

Owings tried to tell the officer exactly why she wanted to go so quickly. “I have to poop so bad,” she said. After the officer dismissed her need to go, she said that it was her birthday. “It’s my birthday,” she said. When the officer asked what she’d say, she reiterated, “It’s my f**king birthday, man.”

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In another clip, Owings starts crying and asking why he won’t let her go. The officer said it wasn’t possible, because her license was supended. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know,” she said. “I won’t drive no more, but can I please go home and go poop?”

KFOR reported that the woman did have a warrant out for her arrest in Woods County, allegedly for a fight with an officer. Upon telling her that officers were on their way to get her, she responded, “No, they’re not. F**k you guys,” and sped off.

In the police department Facebook post, it wrote that the chase took place at speeds topping 70 miles per hour in a 30 MPH speed zone.

After she was apprehended, the woman was seemingly still more concerned about her bowels than the fact that her charges were going to be upgraded. “Can I poop in your car, man?” She asked as the officers put her in the back of the car.

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Officers found a glass meth pipe with burnt residue during a search of Owings’ vehicle. The police said she was booked with “eluding, reckless driving, driving under suspension, no seat belt, no insurance and possession of drug paraphernalia.”

At the end of its Facebook post, the department said it knows that we all have bathroom emergencies, but it’s still not worth the risks that Owings took. “Everybody poops, we know, but that’s no reason to commit a felony and put in danger the lives of officers, other motorists and pedestrians in the area. Also, be sure to buckle up. Seat belts save lives,” the post said.

The Enid Police Department public information officer did not respond to Newsweek’s emailed request for comment.

Oklahoma police were given a bizarre excuse
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