Darnell Reed, Chef/Owner, Luella’s Southern Kitchen and Host Chef, First Bites Bash

-Luella’s Southern Kitchen is located at 4609 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL https://www.luellassouthernkitchen.com/

Zahid Nassoro-Ally, Kitchen Possible Student



Chicago Restaurant Week

16th annual event takes place from January 20-February 5, 2023 at hundreds of participating restaurants throughout Chicagoland. Participants feature specially priced lunch, brunch and dinner prix fixe menus for 17 consecutive days of delicious dining.   


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First Bites Bash is the celebratory kickoff event to Chicago Restaurant Week.

The charitable beneficiaries of this event include Kitchen Possible (more below) and the James Beard Foundation Scholarship Program. Both organizations will be presented with a check from Choose Chicago the evening of the event to further their causes.

More on Kitchen Possible

Kitchen Possible is a Chicago-based non-profit that builds empowered mindsets in kids through cooking. The Kitchen Possible curriculum is designed to expose kids firsthand to powerful life lessons that set them up for success outside of the kitchen – lessons like, sometimes we have to mess up a few times before we succeed, that great things often require patience, and that growth happens when we try new things. Kitchen Possible offers free programming to youth in under-resourced neighborhoods across Chicago. 


Smoked Duck Confit

For the Duck

4 whole duck legs 

1.5 tablespoons kosher salt

2 bay leaves 

1 tablespoons chopped garlic 

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 Sprigs of fresh thyme

1.5 pounds Duck fat 

  1. Season the duck with salt and arrange skin side up in a Dutch oven, cover and refrigerate overnight and up to 24 hours. 
  2. Rinse the duck under cold running water and again arrange them in a Dutch oven this time layering with garlic, bay leaves, pepper and thyme. Set aside at room temperature.
  3. Smoke the duck fat at 300 degrees for 90 minutes. If you don’t have a smoker you can heat it on the stove top until it reaches 275 degrees. 
  4. Cover the duck with the duck fat and add a lid. 
  5. Bake at 250 for 3 hours. Let cool in a refrigerator overnight.

These can be stored in its own fat for up to 2 weeks.

For the Potatoes 

1.5 pounds fingerling potatoes 

1 tablespoon creole seasoning (you can use Cajun seasoning which is more readily available)

2 tablespoons of chopped parsley 

  1. Heat the duck over low heat on a stove top, just until you can remove the duck legs by hand so not too hot. 
  2. Strain the fat and return to the Dutch oven but this time with with the potatoes.
  3. Heat to 220 degrees and cook and additional 20 minutes after that or until they are fork tender. 
  4. Remove the potatoes and toss with the creole seasoning and parsley 

For the Brussels Sprouts 

1.5 pounds Brussels sprouts

2 ounces reserved duck fat 

  1. Bake the Brussels sprouts at 225 for 90 minutes.
  2. Turn off the oven and let them cool in the oven for 30 minutes.
  3. Cut each sprout in half. 
  4. Heat the fat over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Depending on the size of your skillet this might be in batches. 
  5. Sear the sprouts cut side down until the insides have browned. 

For the BBQ Sauce

3 cups ketchup

1/2 cup Dijon mustard 

3 tablespoons Worcestershire 

3 tablespoons hot sauce 

1/4 cup orange blossom honey

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup orange juice no pulp 

1 teaspoon chili powder 

1 teaspoon black pepper 

1/4 cup brown sugar

  1. Let all ingredients simmer slowly, whisking occasionally to make sure the bottom doesn’t burn and the ingredients are well combined. This should only take 3-5 minutes. 

To Plate 

  1. Sear the duck over medium heat skin side down in a little duck fat until nicely browned and crispfor 4-6 minutes. Flip over and let the other side cook an additional 2 minutes.
  2. Arrange the sprouts and potatoes in the center of the plate side by side, drizzle some sauce around and top the sprouts with the duck.  Or plate it however you like.