Chef Creole: How a Kid From Little Haiti Built a Seafood Empire

Categories: Review

chef_creole_sejour.jpg
billwisserphoto.com
Wilkinson Sejour, AKA Chef Creole
Wilkinson Sejour plunks his brawny arms on a paper-scattered desk, grins mischievously, and asks his buddy, who's smoking a blunt, to fetch him a Corona. It's a Wednesday at 11 a.m., and Sejour's cell phone rings every five minutes. When he answers, his words jumble Calle Ocho slang with Kreyol patois: "Oye, asereje, not now." "Bonjour, monsieur." "Alo?"

After six calls, he locks his phone, hurls it onto the table, and throws his arms up. Sejour -- a Haitian restaurateur, caterer to stars such as Jay-Z and Pitbull, and self-financed cooking show host -- smirks like a kid who gets away with everything.

"Sorry about that," he says. "This is just how I roll."

See also: Chef Creole's response to this review

Earlier that day, a light rain smacked West Dixie Highway and glazed Chef Creole's small parking lot. A woman, her hair coiled beneath a vibrant turban, approached me. I told her I was there for the chef.

"You five minutes early!" she blurted out. "He told you 10:30. He be here 10:30."

At 10:30, a silver Mercedes sedan puttered into the vacant lot. Sejour, a 43-year-old with a shaved head and glowing skin, emerged from the car's leather interior. He led me through his office -- three rooms cluttered with memorabilia: an apron signed by Magic Johnson and plaques from local schools thanking Chef Creole for sponsorships. Whether they refer to the man or the restaurant is unclear.

Chef Creole grew up poor and made it big -- cutting corners and walking that fine line between successful entrepreneur and street hood. How did a kid from Little Haiti, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Miami-Dade, build an empire without a college degree or help from the bank?

Sejour burst into thunderous laughter.

"This isn't an empire," he said. "This is a fucking nightmare."

Location Info

Chef Creole

200 NW 54th St., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

Chef Creole

13105 W. Dixie Highway, North Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

Chef Creole

7957 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

Chef Creole

1392 NW 119th St., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant

Chef Creole

20356 NW 2nd Ave., Miami, FL

Category: Restaurant


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5 comments
GODSPEOPLE
GODSPEOPLE

YEAH BIG UPS FOR CHEF CREOLE AND WILKINSON SEJOUR...YOU'VE COME A LOOOONG WAY BABY!!!!! HAPPY FOR YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS BEING THE NICE GUY THAT YOU ARE WITH SUCH A GREAT BIG HEART...I KNOW FOR SURE YOU HAD TO SHARE SOME OF THOSE PROFITS FROM THOSE SHOWS WITH YOUR DECEASED BROTHER, JUDE PIERRE'S ONLY SON! NOW THAT DEFINITELY IS YOUR TICKET TO HEAVEN BUDDY!  KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK GOD LOVES HIS GOOD SERVANTS! 

iamriese
iamriese like.author.displayName 1 Like

Best. Interview. Ever. Forget the food/travel networks, give this man a reality show on Bravo!

katie
katie

I love this interview!   And I've tried his food...and its Great!   This is why he's successful. 

Navigator98
Navigator98

Chef Creole is the deal I like the fact that a guy with such a hard begining could do what he has done the way he has done it.  if you ever meet him like I have you will find that he is the hardest working guy in the biz. I he got that from his street hustle Im glad he brought to the restuarant biz.  Big up Chef. Ilike the Tiki Hut. 

Vanessa Jean-Pierre
Vanessa Jean-Pierre

LOL This was as real as real gets. I really enjoyed reading this interview. I'd love to see a Chef Creole franchise in the NYC area. Keep up the good work, Sejour!

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