Bananas Foster has delighted people with its irresistible flavor and show-stopping flames for 65 years, inspiring chefs from all corners of Louisiana to create their own spins on the beloved dish. The original version, which features sliced bananas sautéed in a luxurious sauce of brown sugar and butter, flambéed with rum and banana liqueur, and served with vanilla ice cream, was invented at Brennan’s Restaurant in 1951.
At that time, New Orleans was the major port of entry for bananas into the United States. One morning, Brennan’s owner, Owen Brennan, asked his sister Ella and then-Chef Paul Blangé to come up with a new dessert named for his friend Richard Foster, a local businessman and chairman of the New Orleans Crime Commission.
Ella had always loved her mother’s sautéed bananas, caramelized in brown sugar and cinnamon. They decided to create a take on this, preparing it tableside with a flambé of rum and banana liqueur, and finishing it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The dish was a hit, and Bananas Foster has been a favorite in the Crescent City and beyond ever since. Here we highlight five of our favorite spots for Bananas Foster-inspired dishes and show you how to make the classic version at home.