Featured Photo: Chef Hardette Harris speaks prior to a cooking demo in February 2015. Photo by Jim Noetzel.
Chef Hardette Harris, a Bossier City resident and owner of Pure Louisiana Soul™-Food Tours and Tastings, is a woman on a mission. She’d like to see food lovers get as excited about eating a whole fried catfish or a bowl of mustard greens in northern Louisiana as they get about eating beignets, po-boys or gumbo in southern Louisiana. Harris, an accomplished professional chef and event caterer, will host a food tasting and cooking demo, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Saturday, June 27, at Shreveport Little Theatre. Tickets are $45 for adults, $22.50 for children ages 3 and up and free for children ages 2 and under. Get tickets here.
The menu for the event (which can also be viewed at the tickets page) includes many regional foods that Harris believes make our local food scene special, including fried catfish, smoked meats on mustard greens, baked sweet potatoes, cornbread and purple hull peas. Harris emphasized that she’s “not trying to push Cajun and Creole cuisine aside.” She’d simply like to see the traditional foods of northern Louisiana celebrated in the same way that traditional southern Louisiana favorites are celebrated.
“If you go into a lot of restaurants in our area, you don’t see foods of our region being served. They’re serving gumbo and po-boys, every time,” Chef Harris told me. “I want our own local traditions to have their rightful place on the table.”
Chef Harris – who I first met as a vendor at several local fairs and festivals, where she often sells her fantastic take on chicken and waffles – has gone so far as to have Louisiana’s House of Representatives adopt a resolution declaring an Official Meal of North Louisiana.
Aside from her efforts to bolster pride in local food traditions, Harris is also a very talented chef. Folks should leave her June 27 tasting full, happy and proud to be in northern Louisiana.
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If local food is your thing, download the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau’s new local food guide, Eat Here: A Food Lover’s Guide to Shreveport-Bossier.