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

Categories: Review

pikliz_chef_creole.jpg
billwisserphoto.com
Pikliz: a spicy mix of pickled shredded cabbage, carrot, onions, shallots and various peppers
Indeed, Chef Creole is a very busy man. He owns five take-out restaurants from Miami Gardens to Little Haiti, sells his signature sauces online, and has 13 kids -- with only his wife, he makes very clear.

But when Sejour graduated from Miami Beach High School, he never imagined food would become his life. In his early 20s, Sejour, who was born in the Bahamas to Haitian parents but relocated to Miami as a child, teamed up with his brother, Jude Pierre. They bought a grill and began cooking Haitian food at festivals. When their mother told them to choose between attending college or launching a business, they opted for the latter. "Everything is arithmetic. You don't need school to make money," he says.

In 1992, the brothers borrowed cash from their granddad and friends to open the first Chef Creole. Located on NE 78th Street, the restaurant operated like a cheap take-away joint focused on volume, not overhead. Six months after opening, it was grossing more than $4,000 per day. The restaurant was a hit.

But five years later, tragedy beset the family. Jude Pierre passed away. In mourning, Sejour and his business became stagnant. The restaurant neither shrank nor grew. Then the chef immersed himself in a test kitchen to search for a signature Chef Creole flavor.

Eventually, Sejour struck gold. He mastered a blend of seasonings with Scotch bonnet peppers, onion, and spices. He bottled it and promoted it as a new product. Sales swelled. With the extra money, he debuted more restaurant locations.

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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