Jose Creole. Nobody really knew his real name. But that’s what everyone called the unassuming culinary genius who settled outside Lake Charles, Louisiana after leaving his native Mexico in the mid-1930’s.
Like his ancestors, he was a cook. So, on the outskirts of town, in a cafe the size of a banquet table, he cooked.
And in the heart of the Depression, he thrived. From his tiny kitchen Jose turned out the aromatic delicacies of his native Jalisco. And the people came. He asked them what they liked, what they cooked for themselves. And it wasn’t idle curiosity.
Next time they visited, he served it to them, enhanced by his own touches.
In all of America this was the only neighborhood where the tradition of Sunday dinner was happily ignored. Jose was closed on Sunday, but the kitchen was as busy as ever. Sunday was his day to experiment. He blended, he mixed, he crossed Mexican and Cajun, Creole and Soul. He set tables outside by the kitchen door. When a dish was ready for tasting he rang the bell. Neighbors came, Jose watched intently as they ate. He noted every word, every expression, then sent them home to wait for the next bell.
Such is the legend behind the food you’re about to enjoy. There is something like it everywhere. And nothing like it anywhere.
It is at one familiar and exotic.
So relax and enjoy. You’re in the company of people who love good times and good food. Everything was fresh in Jose’s day.
So everything has to be fresh today. Everything has to be perfect. Because we have to be true to your high expectations.
And to the memory of a little man in a little kitchen near the border in South Louisiana.