For Lonnie Harris, his culinary journey began at the age of seven in Louisiana. One of six siblings and the son of two working parents, Lonnie learned to cook to make food for himself and siblings, even mastering the art of cooking a whole chicken at age seven.
At the age of eight, his family moved to Houston. After high school, he worked in the restaurant industry for several years. “There are no weekends off in the restaurant business,” Harris said. “While I wasn’t able to be there for my kids face-to-face, they had everything they needed financially.”
In 2007, he entered the culinary program at the Art Institute of Houston at the age of 30. “My mom said, you’re not a chef in my kitchen. I combined the soul food that I learned from Louisiana with my culinary skills.”
Following his graduation, Harris went to work off-shore on a supply boat with Cardinal Culinary, a company supplying catering services to rig workers. After two years, he decided to work for himself and launched two food trucks.
An additional 10 years in cafeteria and catering services for the Pearland School District and another 10 years in restaurants, Harris was at a crossroads. “I knew I needed a regular schedule. I wanted to spend time with my mom and take her to church. It was my turn to be a daddy and be a grandpa.”
Unfamiliar with CHRISTUS Our Daily Bread, Harris applied for the position of Manager of Food Services. Harris has streamlined the kitchen and pantries at Our Daily Bread and is big on maintaining a no-waste system, often purchasing perishables locally instead of depending on a food distributor.
He feels so strongly about the clients Our Daily Bread is serving that he weekly rounds up clothing donations from friends and family. “This program is what God has called me to do. I brag about what we are doing for people.”