Nancy Weinstock McDaniel is the Vice President of Latter Hospitality. The hospitality group owns The Bower, Birdie's and Tujague's Restaurant. Tujague's is the second oldest restaurant in New Orleans. Also known as the birthplace of brunch, Tujague's recently celebrated their 165th anniversary. Once the Sales & Marketing Coordinator, McDaniel is now the Vice President and runs day-to-day sales, communications and operations throughout all three restaurants. She is the right hand of CEO, Owner and Operator of Latter Hospitality, Mark Latter.
When The Bower opened in March 2020, it was just five days before the COVID-19 shutdown. McDaniel's role expanded tremendously from that moment. Latter Hospitality has since opened Birdy's and re-branded Claret into Bower Bar. McDaniel opens up to the LRA about her work life, and the female inspirations who have led her down the path to success.
LRA: Who are some of your female culinary heroes, and why?
Nancy McDaniel: I'll start with Nina Compton and Ella Brennan. Before I was in the industry, I learned about Nina Compton from one of my favorite TV shows Top Chef. Her ability to be calm, cool and collected amongst a wide range of personalities continues to impress me. Now, she has two of the most acclaimed restaurants in New Orleans. It’s inspiring how she combines her own background with local ingredients and traditional cuisine of the area.
Ella Brennan is a no-brainer. What she was able to accomplish as a restaurateur during her time is unthinkable. All females in our industry owe a special thanks to her for paving the way. My third culinary hero is a little less well-known. Alex Snodgrass, of The Defined Dish, is a recipe developer, cookbook author and social influencer. I admire her more personally as she went to my alma-mater, TCU. Over the past few years, her business has expanded greatly, and she has become more successful and well-known. Even with this success, she continues to be herself in the most genuine and down to earth way. She is passionate about creating nutritious and fulfilling meals at home for loved ones. It inspires me to do more than order take-out or sauté a chicken breast for dinner at home with my husband!
LRA: What is the best piece of advice that you've ever received?
NM: The best advice I've ever been given is about the importance of grit. There have been times in my life when my type-A personality has taken over, and I've gotten down on myself for not being perfect. Someone close to me explained that it is way more important to have grit than to be the smartest or the best at something. Having the ability to persist in something that you feel passionate about, and to persevere when you face obstacles is far more important. This advice has since stuck with me and was a huge part of what helped me personally in dealing with these past two years. We've all had reasons to want to give up or feel sorry for ourselves throughout the pandemic, but having grit gives us the ability to make it through the tough times and we are all better for it.
LRA: Who has been a female mentor?
NM: My number one mentor in life is my mom. As a full-time attorney, who is on the management committee of her law firm, and a full-time parent to four children, she is always there for everything. It amazes me how she has been able to be the most hands-on mother there is, while also running her law firm and practicing law full-time (among her other obligations and responsibilities in other volunteer positions). My siblings and I like to joke that she overcommits herself, but somehow manages to get it all done and show up for everything. This has taught me that you truly can have it all! There is no reason that women can't have successful careers and raise incredible families. I'm excited for my own future knowing that my mom will be there every step of the way.
LRA: Why is Women’s History Month important to you?
NM: I am lucky enough to live in a time where women run Fortune 500 companies. It's important for me to remember those who paved the way for my generation, and hope that I can one day inspire the next generation of female leaders.
It's funny - when I was in middle school, I always said that I wanted to own and operate my own restaurant. Little did I know that three years in to working for Latter Hospitality, I would be the Vice President and have ownership interests in three of our four concepts. I'm excited about what the future holds and look forward to continue growing with the company!
The Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) was established in 1946 to advocate on behalf of the state’s foodservice and hospitality industries.