Dead Poet’s new brunch series aims to shine a more inclusive light on lesser-known chefs

Starting this month, Dead Poet will launch its Saturday Brunch Series, showcasing the diverse talents of lesser-known chefs from around Baton Rouge.

The East Boyd Drive bar started serving food last year in order to stay afloat during the pandemic restrictions. Owner David Facey says he and his team were changing up the menu a lot, which gave him the idea to let other local chefs try their hand in the Dead Poet kitchen.

“I thought it would be really cool to give this opportunity to aspiring chefs in the community, and allow them to gain some experience,” Facey says. “They can just try it out and don’t have to be in charge of a whole kitchen.”

Facey says the goal of the series is to find new talent in the city—and allow them to gain experience and make money. The bar first posted a call for chefs on its Instagram page last week, citing its values of inclusivity and supporting local entrepreneurs. The post quickly went viral, with more than 600 comments piling up.

“I want to give these opportunities to chefs of color to get in the kitchen and make a name for themselves,” he says.

Southern University graduate and caterer Harlie Kennerson is the first chef the bar and restaurant has signed on. Her Instagram showcases both sweet and savory dishes like stuffed french toast croissants, boudin empanadas and smoked gouda grits. 

Dead Poet will have its in-house chef handle the first brunch on Saturday, March 6, and Harlie will debut the series March 13. 

Dead Poet will feature each chef on its social media in order to tell their stories and introduce customers to the chef of the week.

Not every menu will be strictly brunch dishes. The chefs will be able to bring their own creativity and develop a personal lineup for each menu.

As of now, Dead Poet is hoping to continue the series through March and keep it going in the future. 

Facey says the main goal is to shine a light and bring some visibility to these up-and-coming chefs from around the community.

“I think it will help connect these talented people,” Facey says, “with the businesses that were fortunate enough to survive this pandemic.” 

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