The owners of Commander’s Palace, the 125-year-old fine-dining landmark in New Orleans, have long wanted to expand the experience that they offer their guests to a broader audience. With the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, they figured out how to do that: Every Wednesday, owners Lally Brennan and Ti Martin, and Commander’s wine director Dan Davis, host a Zoom chat for which virtual attendees get deliveries of wine, cheese, charcuterie and accompaniments and taste them all together, often joined by the producers of those products.
The Virtual Wine & Cheese Party — or the “Zoom that saved Wednesdays” as some regular attendees now call it — has developed a loyal following among locals, and their first attempt at a national chat had more than 1,000 attendees.
It’s a money-making venture that has helped keep the lights on at Commander’s Palace during the pandemic, but the logistics, especially for the national show, have been a challenge, and a learning experience.
In this edition of In the Kitchen with Bret Thorn, Brennan, Davis and Martin share what they’ve learned in developing this new revenue stream. We also learn about Commander’s new executive chef Megan Bickford, who has replaced Tory McPhail, how to hold virtual auctions, and what the restaurant is planning for the holidays.
Here's a sneak peak of the interview: