Chef Hardette Harris, Grand Ambassador for Northern Louisiana Cuisine, Black Southern

When I wrote Black Southern Belle Chef Hardette Harris is the Grand Ambassador for Northern Louisiana Cuisine for Black Southern Belle, I was writing about a former consultancy client who is now a friend. So this End Note is less about the article and more about the woman and things I wish mainstream food press would cover in terms of her brilliance.

I met her in transition. She’d just been featured in Adrian Miller’s book about soul food and preparing to move back to her hometown of Minden, Louisiana to keep an eye on her parents. She needed assistance sorting out her who, what and why once she arrived back home. That was easy for me. She was an accomplished private chef with an incredible skillset that was marketable. But my mind kept traipsing back to her part in Adrian’s book, so I asked a few questions and voila! It became clear.

Hardette broke down Louisiana’s foodways for me. It was when she started talking about Northern Louisiana, her voice became joyful and excited, and animated. In so many words, I told her she was a heritage culinarian, the rare one who understood her region’s foodways. And if you read the article, you can learn the rest of the story. It was a privilege to use a god-given gift to help someone respect and accept their god-given gift to ultimately become a Louisianan of the Year.

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