Inducted on January 16, 2010
Marcelle Bienvenu, a world-renowned Louisiana food expert, was born in St. Martinville, the setting of "Evangeline", Longfellow’s legendary epic poem about the early Acadian star-crossed lovers, Gabriel and Evangeline.
The Bienvenu family owned and published the Teche News, established in 1886, a propitious foundation for a budding journalist. After her 1967 graduation from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, now University of Louisiana at Lafayette, she was hired as a feature writer for The Times-Picayune, New Orleans’ leading newspaper. In 1971, Time-Life Books beckoned, and Bienvenue left The Times-Picayune to work as a researcher and consultant on the books Foods of The World: American Cooking, Creole and Acadian, and The American Wilderness: The Bayous.
Bienvenu has been featured in national publications such as Food and Wine, Southern Living, Redbook, The New York Times and Saveur, as well as many local and regional publications. Since 1984, Bienvenue has written a weekly food column Cooking Creole for The Times-Picayune and contributed regularly to Louisiana Cookin’ and Louisiana Life magazines.
In addition to her many published articles, Bienvenue edited The Times-Picayune’s celebrated Creole Cook Book, which was originally published in 1901 and reissued in 1987 to celebrate the newspaper’s 150th anniversary.
In 1991, she published her own Cajun-based cookbook of recipes from the cuisine of her native locale, Who’s Your Mama, Are You Catholic, and Can You Make a Roux? She also authored Cajun Cooking for Beginners, published by Acadian House Publishing.
Bienvenu has co-authored several books, including, Eula Mae’s Cajun Kitchen, with Eula Mae Dore, published in 2002, and Stir The Pot: The History Of Cajun Cuisine, with Dr. Carl Brasseaux and Ryan Brasseaux, published in September, 2005.
Chef Emeril Lagasse and Bienvenu co-authored Louisiana Real & Rustic, Emeril’s Creole Christmas, Emeril’s TV Dinners, and Everyday’s A Party, all on the New York Times best seller list. She also lent her creative talents to Emeril Primetime, From Emeril’s Kitchens, Emeril’s Potluck, And Emeril’s Delmonico: A Restaurant With a Past.
Bienvenu has worked as catering director, consultant and in public relations for several restaurants including Commander’s Palace and K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen in New Orleans, and Brennan’s in Houston. From 1981 to 1984, she operated her own restaurant, Chez Marcelle near Lafayette, Louisiana. Bienvenu is teaching culinary skills at the John Folse Culinary Institute at Nichols State University in Thibodaux. Recently, Bienvenu spent ten days studying at the Paul Bocuse Institute in Lyon, France. Bienvenu is married to Rock Lassere.