Tuesday, October 19, 2021

“One of these days I’ll have to come back and cook for you guys”; Cross City native is now big time chef

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) – Chef Q, born and raised in Cross City, joined the military which brought him to California, but his mom’s home cooking in Cross City never quite left his heart and fueled his success.

“This dream has been birthed in me for many many many years,” Chef Q said.

Quentin Bennett now owns Q1227 restaurant outside of Sacramento but back in Cross City, he’s the youngest of 17 children and he and his mother always had a tight bond.

“I was my mothers lap child so to speak, so I was always in the kitchen with her,” Chef Q explained.

After serving in the military, he began washing dishes at a fine dining restaurant and the spatula began calling his name just like when he was younger.

“I didn’t know that bug had bit me,” He added.

Fast forward he opened his restaurant serving comfort food in Oct. 2019, but that was only after facing adversity in many other restaurants as a Black chef.

“I felt like I had to work more hours,” Chef Q expressed. “I felt I had to work unwanted shifts.”

He said 95 percent of the time, he was the only Black manager but he preserved and it paid off.

Since then, he and his wife have been on Steve Harvey’s TV show, he’s met George Lopez and cooked for pro football hall of famer, Jerry Rice.

Related story: Gainesville apartment complex catches fire

“Hey Mr. Rice,” He said to Jerry Rice. “He looks up and he says ‘hey you look like me.’ I said no you look like me. I said, `No, I want your bank account to look like mine, that’s what I want.”

Chef Q’s mom passed away before he started his restaurant but she was always his inspiration.

“I pay homage to my mom,” Chef Q said. “I got her recipes with my twist on the menu, if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be here.”

He never forgets his family all over Florida.

“To all my people out there man thank you,” He expressed. “Thank you for your support. I feel your love, social media, I see it, I feel it. “One of these days I’ll have to come back and cook for you guys.”

He encourages anyone looking to be in his shoes to find a mentor, learn the game and never let anyone tell you, you can’t make it.

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