Darnell Reed born in Chicago, Illinois. He grew up on the South Side spending a great deal of time with his great-grandmother, Luella Funches. Like most kids, Darnell enjoyed playing with friends and watching cartoons, but one of his favorite things to do, even as a very small child, was to watch the Cajun Chef Justin Wilson on Channel 11. The combination of watching him and seeing as well as eating his great-grandmother’s food had Darnell interested in cooking at a young age.
Darnell started his professional career with Hilton Hotels where he started as a prep cook and worked his way up to the Executive Chef of The Conrad Chicago. In 2015, he made the move to open his own restaurant and now four years later, he has opened Luella’s Southern Kitchen, which specializes in Southern cuisine and has served everything from shrimp and grits to Mississippi hot tamales to beignets, and of course, fried chicken.
Luella’s has been in the Michelin Guide as a Bib Gourmand and was also named “Best New Southern Restaurant” by the Chicago Tribune and “Best Soul Food Restaurant” by Chicago Reader.
Darnell recently opened a second location called Luella’s Gospel Bird in Bucktown which has gotten off to a great start and excellent reviews. His goal is to someday leave a legacy of great restaurants all under the Luella’s brand: BBQ, sandwich shops, beignet and coffee shops, and even a fine dining establishment are all within his vision.