Renowned Chef follows a passion to cook for the community, not for profit
Chef Hank Reid has worked in a variety of kitchens in restaurants, hotels and even owned his own restaurant in Snellville, “Trinity Bistro”. Now, as the resident chef at First Baptist Church Snellville (FBCS), he pairs his culinary passion with a desire to connect with the community and bring them closer to their faith.
He started the position last November, picking up on an already established food service program at FBCS. Through the Wednesday night meals service, guests receive a full-course meal served by church staff. “I’ve worked in the industry for many years, and what we serve is comparable to upscaled establishments across the board from Atlanta to Athens. So, it gives families an opportunity to have a high-end economical meal while bringing them into the church to fellowship and learn about other services,” Chef Hank explained.
“It was our first night back from the summer. It was great!” said Erva Pirkle, a kitchen volunteer.
With over 30 years of industry experience, Chef Hank has studied and executed just about any cuisine you can think of. His signature style tends to incorporate Southern and Cajun cuisines, but he often experiments and creates unique flavor pallets.
Chef Hank started working in restaurants at age sixteen and continued in the industry through college. Like many young people, Hank started out on what he thought was the right path studying Math and Engineering at Clark Atlanta University but soon realized cooking was his true passion. The young chef changed majors and schools, ultimately graduating from the Art Institute of Atlanta in 1992.
LETTUM EAT! is Chef Hank’s personal mantra. It simply means “Serve Them”, overcome any obstacles and make it happen — whatever “it” may happen to be. His catering business continues to grow, servicing weddings and private events, while serving the community with FBCS, and partnering with various church ministries like Annistown Road Baptist Church and schools like W.C. Britt Elementary and their Families in the Kitchen Program.
The opportunity at FBCS is unlike anything he’s done before. “In the restaurant business, I think it’s no secret that it’s a tough deal. Now, it’s not about profits. The bottom line here is bringing people to Christ,” Chef Hank said.
Out of the massive 11000 square foot food service department at FBCS, Chef Hank leads a crew of dedicated volunteers and enjoys connecting with the people he serves.
“I do believe sharing a meal is a spiritual thing,” shared Chef Hank. “Not everyone has the privilege to share a full course meal like this, but the value is the same even if it’s just breaking bread and sharing water or whatever morsel is available. It’s always spiritual, and so, we are blessed to be able to do what we do here. God is gracious to allow us to run this as a ministry, and FBCS is outstanding to accept me for who I am,” Chef Hank said.
He was always a believer, but with two sons already to raise and the news that he and his wife would be the parents of triplet daughters eighteen years ago, faith became a fundamental part of Chef Hank’s life. In his career, Hank’s greatest ambition is to inspire youth and give them opportunities to develop their professional skills. Another dream of his is to expand the ministry with a LETTUM EAT! food truck to coordinate food donations and feed homeless and hungry people all the way from the Metro Atlanta area to Athens.
“It seems these natural disasters are happening more often, and with a food truck, we’d be able to get the ministry on the road and feed those people who need help.”
The line-up for the weekly meals begins at 5 p.m., and the kitchen staff and volunteers will continue serving until 6:30 p.m. when the Wednesday Bible class begins in the upstairs dining hall.
Beyond giving families a gourmet hot meal for an economical price, the goal with the meal service ministry is to draw the masses into the church so that they can benefit from the fellowship and worship available at the church. “The meals supplement other services at the church,” Chef Hank explained.
The kitchen staff serve an average of 300 meals every week at the church and hope to continue expanding and servicing other churches seeking to add value to their congregations and surrounding communities. The public is welcome to stop by FBCS located at 2400 Main Street, Snellville, Ga. 30078. A salad bar options is also available for $7. To learn more about the ministry go to the website at www.LETTUMEAT.com or connect with Chef Hank at firstname.lastname@example.org.