I am Michael Luke Sr. and I was born and raised in Shreveport, La. I am the chef and co-founder of Luke’s Soul Food Café. Feel good food is what made me fall in love with cooking.
I was blessed to come from a family of great cooks and southern soul food meant a lot to my family. My sisters and I were taught early on that cooking and sharing a good meal is how we showed our love for one another. My paternal grandmother, Dessie (Honey), told me that when she was a child in the sharecropping fields, all they had was what they could grow or trade for with the other families. They would gather together after the crops were harvested and have a huge feast. Everyone would bring whatever they had to contribute.
Most of the comfort food I prepare can be traced back to recipes from that time period. I remember delicious home-cooked meals from my childhood and how eating some of my favorite foods made me feel like I was getting a warm hug on the inside. I knew then that I wanted to make other people feel that warm hug inside whenever they ate something I cooked. I was taught to memorize recipes; I never even saw a cookbook until I was a teenager.
My folks cooked from memory and passed down recipes by word of mouth.
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