Classically trained in French, Mediterranean, West Indian and East African cuisine, Chef Chris Williams has made a name for himself serving up well-refined Southern food with international infusions at his nationally-celebrated Museum District restaurant Lucille’s — opened as a tribute to his great grandmother and culinary pioneer Lucille B. Smith. A decade in the making, the namesake restaurant has since morphed into Lucille’s Hospitality Group — a culmination of concepts that channel the matriarch’s historic ingenuity. Chef Williams has also served as the lone culinary cultural ambassador for the USA for three years, advancing food diplomacy in destinations like Slovenia, Croatia, and Ukraine. Williams’ most recent endeavor — his non-profit Lucille’s 1913 — mimics the ethos of his restaurant group and its namesake, functioning as a conscious community collective that is building a vertically integrated ecosystem to combat food insecurity and waste; creating training and employment opportunities in traditionally under-resourced neighborhoods; and empowering communities to discover a self-sustainable livelihood through food. To date, Chef Chris and the Lucille’s 1913 team have provided nearly 400,000 meals to Houstonians in need since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Williams has served as the lone culinary cultural ambassador for the USA for three years, advancing food diplomacy in destinations like Slovenia, Croatia, and Ukraine. He is also part of Restaurant Hospitality’s coveted 2021 Rising Star class and most recently was named to Bon Appetit’s inaugural “Heads of the Table” Awards List, which honors the trailblazing, community-building, future-making leaders changing the restaurant industry.