For those that don’t know Jonnetta, she is Usher’s mother. Yes, Usher’s mom.
But she is coming into her own spotlight starting a culinary incubator in Atlanta, where chefs and business minded people alike can come and break into the restaurant industry with their own creations. As a start, she partnered with Davio’s at Phipps Plaza to put on Cooks for Charity, donating all proceeds to Usher’s New Look Foundation.
We were able to snag a few questions from her as well:
What made you want to start the Culinary Incubator?
I have a deep passion for creating a memorable meal- whether for family or friends- and want to ensure rising culinary entrepreneurs with a similar passion are equipped with the business knowledge to do so successfully. J’s Kitchen allows me to transition my business background to the culinary industry, which I have been passionate about for many years.
Additionally, after having worked with several prominent chefs, I began to learn of the issues with shared kitchen space. As you might know, mobile culinary businesses must have a brick-and-mortar location that can be inspected for the proper permits to be issued. A shared kitchen is a relatively simple concept, but with the insight I have gathered, J’s Kitchen will fulfill the needs of chefs, bakers, producers of specialty goods and caterers.
Given that 60% of restaurants fail within one year of opening, it was apparent that I also had an opportunity to help ‘incubatees’ map out successful business strategies. I’m especially excited for future chefs who will find a home at JKCI, as we will teach them the strategy behind selecting the right team to focus on business, so they can stay in the kitchen doing what they are most passionate about.
How do you think the incubator could impact the city of Atlanta? The state of Georgia?
Atlanta is well-known as a food-centric destination, but I think producing more quality chefs, producers of specialty goods, caterers and bakers will further solidify that position. From an economic standpoint, more thriving small businesses will be excellent for Atlanta and the state as a whole. J’s Kitchen Culinary Incubator allows me to invest in this community that has given me so much; I want to see Atlanta continue to rise.
What was the inspiration behind the dish you’re cooking up on Thursday?
The Lobster Risotto is my absolute favorite Davio’s dish! When I was asked to participate in Davio’s Cooks For Charity, I knew it would be the right dish to prepare and serve all of our guests because of how delicious it is and the passion I’ll put into making it. I’m really looking forward to cooking alongside Davio’s owner Steve DiFillippo and Executive Chef Timothy Magee.
What kind of message do you have for young people that are interested in the culinary industry today?
I would tell them to be passionate about and committed to pursuing their dreams. Anything one chooses to do as a career becomes a part of their life and their lifestyle. I’ve helped many budding entrepreneurs achieve their goals, and I’m dedicated to the success of our ‘incubatees’ as well.
We tried the Lobster Risotto, and it was AWESOME! The meat was so fresh, and everything was cooked and seasoned to perfection. It’s definitely good to split this with someone, because it’s a lot of food! Along with this last night, I had their Tuna Tartare, which was also equally as great.
Be on the lookout for more Cooks for Charity dinner’s at Davio’s. Who knows, maybe another Atlanta favorite will be there.