Keith was born and raised in Covington, Louisiana and Nealy was born and raised in Southern California, then moved to Biloxi, Mississippi. Their dream of owning their own restaurant came true when they opened the doors of LOLA in Covington, Louisiana, in January of 2006. Prior to the opening restaurant they both held Sous chef positions at world famous Brennan’s Restaurant on Royal Street in New Orleans. There, they each learned the ins and outs of fine dining kitchen culture and interaction with a variety of people. It was hurricane Katrina that forced them to move to Covington, and one year after their evacuation LOLA was born. Nealy was 23 and Keith 28.
In six short years Nealy and Keith have racked up some big awards and recognition. In 2009 they were both awarded the “Chefs to Watch” from Louisiana Cookin’ magazine. It was only the second time in its history that married chefs won the award. In 2011 they finished 3rd in the Louisiana Seafood Cook off, sponsored by the Louisiana Seafood & Marketing Board. They attempted the same cook off in 2012 and won 1st place. They were given the title of King & Queen of Louisiana seafood for the next year. With that title they were given the chance to compete in the Great American Seafood Cook off to represent the state of Louisiana. Fifteen other states also competed. After all the cooking and judging, Louisiana placed 2nd. Big win for Nealy and Keith, but an even bigger win for LOLA.