Thank you, Jon

Posted: 06/03/2024

The early influences on chefs often go unnoticed. At 15, after landing a job at McDonald's, a celebratory dinner at Smokey Joe's Creole Cafe unknowingly became the catalyst for my cooking career.

Smokey Joe's, light years ahead of its time, had been a family favourite. My parents' religious dining there since my early childhood years, starting with Smokey Joe's potato soup at a kiosk in Richardson's Harley Davidson.

Jon, the owner, graced our table with his unique American accent upon hearing the occasion. "Ben got a job at McDonald's," we shared. His response changed everything: "If you like food, come talk to me."

In that moment, Jon, sealed my fate. The menu boasted smoked brisket, smoked bbq chicken, pork ribs, chili con carne, fajitas, gumbo, and even crocodile. Everything, from the Ozark BBQ sauce to his homemade andouille sausages, was crafted by Jon's hands.

Jon was a food artist, he taught me his art of making incredible dishes. Of all, red beans and rice became my favorite.

Smokey Joe's was an icon, and if only Jon would pen a recipe book for me, that would be great. The place not only served delectable dishes but also shaped the course of my culinary journey, and for that, I'm forever grateful.

Smokey Joes pic