In 2007, when I finally found a place to open my own little spot, I coined the phrase “French Soul Food” to describe the personal style of cuisine I wanted to bring to the public. What I hoped to convey was a soulful mixture of Southern, Creole and French cuisines presented in a down-home style and atmosphere.
Fueled by my desire to charm folks with the tastes of my hometown, New Orleans, and with the support of Libby Truesdell, my amazing partner (now my wife), I was able to turn the shoddy Tenderloin greasy spoon I found on Craigslist into my dream restaurant.
Our little spot and our family have expanded now—we’ve opened Libby Jane Café two doors down the street and Brenda’s Meat & Three on Divisadero. Blessed by the hundreds of thousands of guests who have visited us from near and far over the years, Brenda’s is still going strong!
So if you’re craving something soulful, satisfying and sexy, come by and try us out. If you’ve already been by, I thank you and hope to welcome you back again soon—and often! Thanks.
Ain’t no shame in your game if
you can’t pronounce a few things…
Beignet (ben-yay): fried doughnut hugely popular in New Orleans
Grillades (gree-ahds): beef cutlet smothered in a spicy gravy
Etouffée (ay-too-fay): literally from the French, means “to smother”,
like we do with our chicken with lots of spices and love
Bon appétit y’all!
Brenda / Chef Proprietor
Chef Brenda grew up on the West bank of New Orleans, Louisiana in a little town called Harvey. As a girl she spent much of her time trapping crawfish in the canals behind her house, crabbing in nearby Lafitte, picking wild blackberries, gathering pecans and fishing on the local bayous and along the Gulf Coast on her family’s boat. Brenda was not only fortunate to have access to the rich abundance of local seafood and produce, but also the diverse styles of cuisine embodied by her Sicilian, French and Filipino ascendants, often enjoying the pleasures of a backyard crawfish boil one day, a big pot of gumbo the next, then feasting on pancit, lumpia and chicken adobo the next.
Upon graduating from Louisiana State University with a BFA in Painting and Drawing, Brenda decided to pursue her real creative passion and began cooking in the kitchens of New Orleans. Within a few years, she found a natural fit at Mike’s on the Avenue creating fusion cuisine and was quickly promoted to Chef de Cuisine.
In 1997, Brenda moved to San Francisco and at the age of 29 landed her first Executive Chef position at the notable fusion pioneer Oritalia. While there, she garnered much positive attention.Three stars in the SF Examiner, three stars in SF Magazine, and a listing among the Top Five Bold Newcomers in the New York Times are among her many accolades. She has twice been invited to cook at the James Beard House in New York City.
After leaving Oritalia, Buenviaje went on to work as Head Chef of Sumi in the Castro, Head Chef of Café Claude in downtown San Francisco, Consulting Chef of Snooze in Denver, Colorado and Executive Chef of DeLessio Market and Bakery.
In 2007, Brenda decided to open her own place serving her interpretation of “French Soul Food” in a casual atmosphere. From day one the response has been overwhelming!
In her spare time you can find Brenda with her lovely wife Libby and three children Max, Aurora and Leo, crabbing off of the Sausalito Pier, catching a Giants game, foraging for wild fruit to put into her next pancake special and dreaming up new ways to take over the world one beignet at a time…