The chef promises his late mother to open a food truck in her honor

Jonette Williams grew up in Brooklyn, cooking South Carolina’s regional Gullah Geechee cuisine with her mother and grandmother.

Along with “mum” and “mum”, Williams spent hours in the kitchen perfecting Gullah Geechee staples such as red rice, slow-cooked spiced legumes, cooked meats, poultry, greens, tomatoes and okra. Her mother’s particular specialty was red rice, she says.

A Girl’s Promise

The kitchen was so central to family life that when Williams’ mother, Hurtha Robinson, died of liver cancer in 2016, Williams made her a promise: one day she would open a food truck in honor of her. his mother.

“She didn’t look at me and said nothing but ‘When?’ And I told him I don’t know, but soon,” said Williams, who moved to Columbus in 2001.

“After his death, I wanted to pay tribute to him.”

Jonette Williams is raising money to open a food truck in honor of her mother, Hurtha Robinson, pictured in a photo Williams keeps on her fridge.

Glorious: “It was something she felt about my food”

Williams’ mother even named her daughter’s food: Jonette’s Du Jour Glorieux Cuisine. Glorieux, the French word for glorious, stood out.

“It was something she felt about my food,” she said.

With the name as a foundation, Williams, 41, launched Glorious (pronounced glory-yoo) WaFulz, a gourmet waffle pop-up that appeared at Antiques on High the past three Saturdays, in addition to Seventh Son Brewing.

She sees the waffle business as one step closer to the food truck she promised her mother.

“I felt that this way it would also remind me why I had to be so driven and pursue my dream because it was something that was important to her, that she knew would make me happy.”

Sharing a Mother and Grandmother’s Love for Cooking

Williams’ culinary journey began with her mother and grandmother in Brooklyn, and it eventually brought her to Columbus. At 21, Williams moved to Ohio and got her first professional cooking gig at SC Bar & Kitchen in Reynoldsburg.

“I’ve always had a passion for cooking. That’s what would get me out of any depression or whatever was going on,” she said. “And it also reminded me of how I was raised. (In Brooklyn) we had fishmongers, we had Jewish delis, so many different good memories associated with food.”

Columbus restaurant guide:Find food near you by cuisine

It was after working at SC that Williams realized she wanted to open a food truck and started working at local trucks like Creole 2 Geaux and Links-N-Lemonade for the experience. She also worked at the former Brewery District restaurant Copious and is currently at the Watershed Distillery, which led her to Antiques on High and a conversation that led to her serving gourmet waffles for brunch on Saturdays at the brewery.

Among the Glorious WaFulz items are the Red Velvet Waffles.

From pop-up to food truck dream

During her pop-ups, she featured her Cinnamon Waffle, Apple Pie Waffle, and Fried Burger Waffle.

Williams hopes the pop-ups and crowdfunding, through the online lending platform Kiva, will help fund outfitting her Chevy G30 pickup truck in her food truck. She hopes to open the truck this year or by food truck season next spring and summer.

Williams involves her three children in the kitchen, just like her mother did with her. She jokes that her kids’ palettes are pretty basic at the moment, which reminds her of her childhood.

“I remember how my grandmother and my mother had trouble getting me to eat certain things,” she said. “And now there are certain things that I appreciate. I know she would be so proud.”

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