Director of Operations & Sous Chef

Vickie Lee Ezell Krantz and Bryan Krantz were married in 1985 and have lived an adventurous life owning the family businesses of Jefferson Downs Racetrack in Kenner, LA and Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, LA. This time included raising their two children, Austen and Ashlee.

Vickie was born in Baton Rouge and lived in the Central area of North Baton Rouge in her early years. Her mother’s family was of Cajun extraction and her father’s family were dairy farmers from Washington Parish. Her family roots were of two very different food cultures.

Both sides of her family had cooking traditions that she grew up with. Her bond to both of her grandmothers exposed her to the kitchen at a young age and peaked her interest in cooking.

Following her marriage, she was immersed in the administrative part of the racing business, which included the food service and dining operations of Jefferson Downs and later Fair Grounds Race Course. This education and later responsibilities included administrative, front of house staff, and customer service functions of the main dining area, along with concession stand operations. At Fair Grounds, she was also responsible for operational oversight of Admissions, Custodial Affairs, Parking, and Special Events.

During the offseason of Fair Grounds the facility hosted the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Vickie ran the Fair Grounds Racing Museum food booth, which was the main fundraiser for preserving the history and heritage of Thoroughbred Racing in New Orleans.

After leaving Fair Grounds in 2004, Vickie became the proprietor of Calas Bistro.  This two year venture was a labor of love as she was able to craft a white linen and fine wine suburban dining experience that reflected her southern charm and hospitality. As the post-Katrina economy declined, the location suffered and was eventually closed.

However, the silver lining to closing the restaurant was that it allowed Vickie to focus on her kitchen skills and reawaken the root lessons of her family cooking.  She has incorporated the exposure she got from Chef Pete DeMarcy at Jefferson Downs/Fair Grounds and later the influence of Chef Frank Brigtsen in his consulting role at Calas Bistro in her approach to the charitable events, cooking demonstration and classes she and Bryan participate in.

Their Tailgate Tigers Charity has kept them active in the annual Hogs For The Cause Festival Event at UNO as one of 90 booths participating in the fundraiser.  The near quarterly fund raisers for Tailgate Tigers allow her to exercise the organizational skills she has developed and contribute to the culinary efforts as well.

The Louisiana Craft Butchers meat processing business has allowed her to use her skills and recipes influencing the menu.  Louisiana Craft Butchers has partnered with Chef Charles Vollmar of the Epicurean Exchange to teach cooking classes based on culturally-connected menus and food related to our area.  These classes have taken place in the New Orleans area and in the San Francisco suburb of Orinda California.