DiRōNA In New Orleans

September 19th, 2023

Join former DiRōNA Hall Of Fame members and DiRōNA Awarded restaurateurs at Brennan’s Restaurant for a special evening ‘In Memory of DiRōNA Co-Founder John Arena’.

DiRōNA in New Orleans

Tuesday, September 19th 2023 6:00pm


Dinner ‘In Memory of John Arena’ at Brennan’s Restaurant



Petite Crab OR Crawfish Cakes, Remoulade (based on seasonal availability)

Crispy Boudin Balls, Horseradish Mustard

Spinach and Truffle Grilled Cheese, Havarti Cheese



Creole Caesar Salad

Gem Lettuce, Roasted Oyster Dressing, Liendheimer Bread Crisp

paired with Gerard et Pierre Morin Sancerre Loire Valley 2021


Brennan’s Turtle Soup

Brown Butter Spinach, Grated Egg, Aged Sherry

paired with Shafer Vineyards Red Shoulder Ranch Carneros 2021


Redfish ala Plancha

Louisiana Lump Crab, Haricot Verts, Lemon Butter Sauce

paired with Bruno Clavelier Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains 2020


Steak Diane

Flambeed Tableside, Chanteduc Potato, Maggie’s Mushrooms, Brandy Red Wine Sauce

paired with Lionel Faury Saint-Joseph Vieilles Vignes Rhône Valley 2019


Bananas Foster

Created at Brennan’s, Prepared Tableside

Bananas, Butter, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Rum and Vanilla Ice Cream

paired with Chilled Bumbo

John Arena, passed away at the age of 98 unexpectedly, on February 11, 2023. Born in Calabria, Italy, he travelled alone to Australia by ship at the age of 14 in search of his father, who had gone there many years earlier to seek his fortune. As an Italian citizen during WWII, John was interned at 18. Looking back, he considered himself lucky because that was where he learned to speak, read and write English. Following the end of WWII, Australia is where he discovered his love for the culinary arts, the field in which he continued to work following the war. Arriving in Toronto in 1957, John worked at the King Edward Hotel, where he met his future bride. Over the decades that followed, he helped shape the hospitality industry in Canada. His claim to fame was Winston’s Restaurant, which he purchased in 1966. Winston’s, together with its catering division, became synonymous with fine dining, catering to the elite including prime ministers and royalty. His achievements include co-founding DiRoNA (Distinguished Restaurants of North America), the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners and the Ontario Hostelry Institute. His significant contribution to the founding of the George Brown Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts is one of the achievements he was proudest of. The other was catering for 45,000 people on the occasion of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Toronto in 1984, whom he had the great privilege of meeting personally. John’s vision, creativity and dedication to the industry were influential in creating the fabric of the Toronto we know today. John was predeceased by his beloved wife for 62 years, Reingard; and survived by his 4 children, Michelle, Gregory (Uli) Kristina and Giulia (Tim); 8 grandchildren; and 4 great-grandchildren.