Meet our Chef & Owner
Chef Darnell Reed
Thank you for visiting this site. My name is Darnell Reed and I am the Chef/Owner at Luella’s Southern Kitchen. I am excited to have the opportunity to serve the Lincoln Square community. For the first 18 years of my career, I have been a hotel Chef at Hilton Worldwide and have worked in historic hotels such as the Palmer House Hilton. I am well versed in many cuisines and traveled the world for food and research. Over the years I have visited Morocco, London, Paris, Finland, Puerto Rico, New York, Miami, Las Vegas, and a few southern locations which I will get into shortly, never returning without ideas to enhance my culinary repertoire. My passion is food, but my first love is food of the south!In 1943 my great grandmother Luella Funches moved to Chicago from Morgan City Mississippi. She was the first person in our family to live in this city and now we have been here for 70 years!
Luella brought her southern roots with her including her flare in the kitchen. Every holiday event or family get together would be held at Luella’s house. Growing up I loved her cooking and would hang around her in the kitchen after school until my mom would pick me up. As I started to grow as a professional I would pick Luella’s brain for recipes and techniques. She taught me how to make Cornbread and Gumbo, amongst other things. Today I can express my life experiences through my food. The more of my southern influence comes through in my food, the more a student of the cuisine I become. Over the years I frequently travel to the south to places like New Orleans, Georgia and Charleston, mostly in search of the brilliant food of the south. Some of my personal favorites are my Shrimp and Grits, which are made in the style of New Orleans BBQ Shrimp, Luella’s Chicken Gumbo and after my trip to Charleston the Low Country Shrimp and Crab Boil and She Crab Soup! The food of Luella’s Southern Kitchen will reflect this story