Tiana is loosely based on both Princess Emma, the heroine of Baker's novel, and the princess who appears in the Grimm fairy tale. Clements described Baker's The Frog Princess as "a kind of fairy tale with a twist" because in it "the princess kissed the frog and instead of him turning into a prince she turned into a frog. " Clements and Musker pitched the idea for the film to Walt Disney Animation Studios CEO John Lasseter "as a hand-drawn film with an African American heroine", conceiving Tiana "as someone who would never have been a big fan of Disney fairy tales. " The character was inspired by famed restaurateur Leah Chase, who Clements and Musker met on their research trip to New Orleans. Clements elaborated, "There's a woman in New Orleans named Lee (sic) Chase who was a waitress and ultimately opened a restaurant with her husband … we met with her and we talked with her and she went to kind of into her story, her philosophy about food, which is a big element of the movie. "