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Warren Leruth, 72; Aided in Resurgence of French-Creole Cuisine

November 10, 2001|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Warren Leruth, 72, a chef, restaurateur and food scientist whose New Orleans restaurant contributed to the resurgence of French-Creole cooking, died Wednesday at a hospice in Diamondhead, Miss.

Born in New Orleans of Belgian ancestry, Leruth opened LeRuth's (he capitalized the R in the restaurant name) in his hometown in 1965. The elegant eatery brought French techniques to classic New Orleans cuisine, producing such innovative dishes as oyster-artichoke soup. Leruth also baked his own bread and made his own desserts.

By 1973, his restaurant was being touted in "The New Orleans Underground Gourmet" guidebook as "a culinary miracle . . . one of the finest eating places in the world." Reservations were required months in advance and the restaurant became a favorite of such celebrities as Walter Cronkite and Yul Brynner.

Leruth also had success as a research chef and menu consultant, credited with helping to develop Seven Seas salad dressings and signature items for national chains, including Popeye's and Church's.

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