Like performers, chefs are artists too,” says Jonetta Patton, who managed her son, Grammy Award-winning Usher Raymond IV for 17 years before retiring. “They’re particular about who they cook for, how dishes are prepared, and which ingredients they use—their food is art.” After decades of throwing lavish parties with personal chefs and talking with them at length, Patton discovered many are talented but lack business savvy. (Hmm, exactly like artists in the entertainment world! she thought.) That’s why she’s opening J’s Kitchen Culinary Incubator, a 13,000-square-foot shared kitchen space for food entrepreneurs in Atlanta this fall.
Like all artists who stay relevant, Patton says, “I’ve reinvented myself.” She came out of retirement to fulfill her mission: “To inspire and empower the next generation in establishing ownership in a sustainable culinary business.”
Along with rentable-by-the-hour kitchen facilities, there is a three-year business program attached to the incubator for entrepreneurs who come through its doors. First, students meet and talk with CPAs, attorneys, marketing specialists and build capital. Then, they graduate on to working with a business coach, building a staff, as well as navigating state and government agencies. Eventually, those in the program walk out with a sustainable business plan in place.
To satiate another passion, the Alpharetta-resident and grandmother is launching a nonprofit called Recipe for Life Foundation, to coincide with the new for-profit endeavor. “My grandson was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and I was just diagnosed with Type 2,” she says, which she is managing through diet. A portion of the proceeds from the business will go to cooking healthy meals and delivering them to local homeless shelters for women and their families; and Camp Kudzu, a summer camp for kids with juvenile diabetes that her grandson attends. A possible TV project about the entire concept is also currently in talks.
But until cameras start rolling, this top tastemaker is ushering in the next generation of culinary talent from her usual spot—backstage. 3996 Pleasantdale Road, Ste. 203, 844.609.4678
Having faith in life choices, grandparenting without boundaries, turning passion into purpose, promoting healthy eating on a global level to address diabetes
Allowing others to hurt, losing faith