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Up In Your Business Home PageAbout Kerry McCoy

Chef Donnie Ferneau

Listen to the 1/5/18 podcast to find out:
  • What it was like to be on a reality TV show and how to apply
  • The in's and out's of working in the restaurant business
  • How to parlay a negative situation into a positive one
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Executive Chef Donnie Ferneau is a critically acclaimed and nationally recognized award-winning chef. This past fall he competed on the Food Network's Great American Food Truck Race. The ‘Southern Frenchie’ truck came in fourth, remaining in the competition until the Nashville round.

Ferneau got his start in culinary school at Kirkwood Culinary Academy (Iowa), then apprenticed under Philippe Forcioli, the former executive chef of the Orient Express. Donnie apprenticed throughout the Midwest and worked under several well-known chefs in Little Rock before venturing out on his own. Ferneau Restaurant was located in the Hillcrest neighborhood. Next, he jumped across the river to North Little Rock where he opened Good Food by Ferneau. Donnie used this venture to create healthy food options [and the best fried chicken in the city] for some of Arkansas’ largest corporations, medical facilities and health clubs. His objective was to promote healthy eating without sacrificing flavor or culinary creativity. Recently Donnie worked with The 1836 Club, as Executive Chef for the private club.

Donnie’s wall is full of awards. He has received the Formica and Ben E. Keith Culinary Community Service Award, Adjunct Teacher of the Year at Pulaski Tech, Chef of the Year for The American Culinary Federation, Diamond Chef Arkansas, Best Chef in Arkansas and recently was named to Best Chefs in America, Southern Region. Donnie has also had the pleasure of cooking for some of America’s most influential celebrities including, President Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg, among many others. Three years in a row Donnie was extended the invitation to cook for the Nations Democratic Governors at “Taste of the Nation.” In October of 2015, Donnie competed and was featured in the Food Network’s show, BBQ Blitz. He has also been featured in national cook books and magazines.

As impressive as his resume is, Donnie cooks on all burners outside of the kitchen as well. He is involved with many local charities and is especially passionate about causes that benefit children, including Share our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. He marched Capitol Hill to fight for breakfast in the classrooms in Arkansas and rode 300 miles on a road bike to help raise money for hungry children across America.

Recently, Donnie worked with Memory Care America helping to utilize food as medicine for Alzheimer’s patients throughout the country. He has been assisting in a groundbreaking medical research that can help stop the progression of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. In October 2015, Donnie has twice been invited as the Guest Celebrity Chef to Eva Longoria’s Celebrity Gala and Poker Tournament, benefiting Eva’s Heroes Foundation for children and young adults with mental disabilities.

Exciting news for foodies: this year, in collaboration with Kelli Marks, Ferneau is opening a brunch themed eatery called Cathead’s Diner in the Paint Factory building of the East Village area. Ferneau also sells his own Signature Blend of spices called Ferneau Seasonings.

Up In Your Business is a Radio Show by FlagandBanner.com

Behind The Scenes

 

 

EPISODE 69

 

[INTRODUCTION]

 

[0:00:03.2] TB: Welcome to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. Be sure to stay tuned till the end of the show to hear how you can get a copy of this program and other helpful documents.

 

Now, it's time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.

 

[INTERVIEW]

 

[0:00:23.1] KM: Thank you, Tim. Like Tim said, I’m Kerry McCoy and it’s time for me to get up in your business. Before we start, I want to introduce you to the people at the table. We have Tim Bowen, our technician who will be taking your calls and pushing the buttons. Say hello, Tim.

 

[0:00:37.7] TB: Hello, Tim.

 

[0:00:38.7] KM: Recording our show to make a podcast available next week is our technician, Jessie. Thank you, Jessie.

 

[0:00:44.9] J: No problem.

 

[0:00:45.9] KM: This show Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy began with entrepreneurs in mind, a platform for me and in my guest to pay forward our business knowledge in a conversational way.

 

What I enjoy most, that I didn’t realize I was going to enjoy most was hearing my guest biography and hearing how they maneuvered the path of leadership and entrepreneurship in pursuit of their dreams.

 

My guest today is Executive Chef Donnie Ferneau. What a path this guy has traversed. Donnie is no slouch. Like most successful people, he is a hard-worker. I hope through our conversation today, you will learn something, want to get involved or be inspired to take action in your own life.

 

If you don’t already know me, you may be wondering and asking yourself, “What’s this lady story?” Well, Tim is here to tell you.

 

[0:01:37.5] TB: Thank you, Kerry. Over 40 years ago, with only $400 Kerry McCoy founded Arkansas Flag and Banner. During the last four decades, the business has grown and changed dramatically from door-to-door sales to telemarketing to mail order and catalog sales. Now Flag and Banner relies heavily on the internet, including our newest feature, live chatting.

 

Each decade required a sales and strategy procedure change. Her business and leadership knowledge grew with time and experience, as well as the confidence to branch out into multimedia marketing that began with our non-profit dreamland ballroom, as well as our in-house publication Brave Magazine, and now this very radio show you’re listening to.

 

Each week on this show, you’ll hear candid conversations between her and our guests about real-world experiences on a variety of businesses and topics that we hope you’ll find interesting. Kerry says that many business rules like, treat your employees well, know your profit margin and have a succession plan can be applied across most industries.

 

What I find encouraging is her example that hard work pays off. Did you know that for nine years while starting Flag and Banner she supplemented her income with many part-time jobs. That just shows that her persistence, perseverance and patience prevailed.

 

Today, Flag and Banner has 10 departments and I have 25 co-workers. It reminds us all, small businesses are the fuel of our country’s economic engine and that they empower people’s lives. If you would like to ask Kerry a question or share your story or your experience, you can send an e-mail to questions@upyourbusiness.org.

 

[INTERVIEW]

 

[0:03:23.4] KM: Thank you, Tim. My guest today in Up in your Business with Kerry McCoy show is the critically acclaimed, award-winning and nationally recognized Executive Chef Donnie Ferneau.

 

After high school, Donnie attended Kirkwood Culinary Academy in Iowa and apprenticed under – you’re going to have me – have to help me with his name, Philippe –

 

[0:03:45.6] DF: Philippe Forcioli.

 

[0:03:47.0] KM: There you go. I guess you are all both French; Ferneau and Forcioli. The former Executive Chef of The Orient Express. Are we talking about The Orient Express Train that Agatha Christie book is written after?

 

[0:03:59.4] DF: Yes. It is. James Bond, all of them.

 

[0:04:03.0] KM: Wow. We’re going to have to learn a little bit about that once we get into the nuts and bolts of the show today. Chef Ferneau is an entrepreneur extraordinaire, having spearheaded the opening of countless restaurants in the Greater Little Rock, Arkansas area. Founding his own signature blends of Ferneau spices and starring in two food network reality TV shows, the BBQ Blitz in 2015 and The Great Food Truck Race in 2017.

 

Donnie has had the pleasure of cooking for some of America’s most influential politicians and celebrities, including President Bill Clinton, Senator Ted Kennedy, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg among many others.

 

He has been featured in numerous national cook books and publications, such as The Wine Spectre of Magazine. Donnie’s is heart is big as he lends his talent and time to mostly children’s charities. In the No Kid Hungry Campaign, he marched on Capitol Hill to fight for breakfast in the classrooms in Arkansas. He rode in a 300-mile bike ride to help raise money for hungry children across America and was the guest chef for Eva Longoria’s celebrity gala and poker tournament benefitting children and young adults with mental disability. More recently, Donnie worked with Memory Care America helping to discover and utilize foods as medicine for Alzheimer patients.

 

I am so excited to welcome to the table the big-hearted culinary wizard and chef, Donnie Ferneau.

 

[0:05:31.0] DF: Wow. Happy to be here.

 

[0:05:33.7] KM: I did my research, didn’t I?

 

[0:05:34.5] DF: You did. You did.

 

[0:05:35.7] KM: You didn’t know you were so great.

 

[0:05:36.8] DF: I’m not that old. I haven’t been around that long.

 

[0:05:39.1] KM: Don’t be lying. What a career and exciting you lived. Are you afraid of anything? I’m serious. Are you really afraid of anything?

 

[0:05:50.7] DF: Snakes. When it comes to going out and trying, just give it a world, see what happens.

 

[0:05:58.3] KM: You are not risk-averse, that’s for sure.

 

[0:06:00.2] DF: Yeah. I think when I graduated high school, our motto was those who can find out how far one can go – I need to rethink this. I actually know what it is.

 

[0:06:12.1] KM: I’m just impressed that you know what your high school motto is at all, or even trying.

 

[0:06:15.7] DF: Those who risk how far one can go can find out how far one can go. Only those who risk going too far can find out how far one can go. There it is.

 

[0:06:24.2] KM: There it is. Well, you have definitely lived up to that. There’s one thing I didn’t mention in the opening, you’re an avid marksman aren’t you?

 

[0:06:33.7] DF: Shooting stuff?

 

[0:06:34.7] [0:06:34.0] KM: Yeah.

 

[0:06:34.9] DF: Yeah. I do like to shoot guns every once in a while.

 

[0:06:36.9] KM: I think that is so interesting. He is such a – I mean, a sensitive, creative guy who really likes the macho stuff.

 

[0:06:47.5] DF: I don’t really go around bragging about it, but I do like the outdoors. I enjoy it.

 

[0:06:52.0] KM: I bet if you weren’t a chef, you’d be a policeman.

 

[0:06:55.9] DF: Probably. I do enjoy – actually in between restaurant gigs, I was going to apply for the Little Rock Fire Department, but found out I was too old. The cut-off was 35.

 

[0:07:05.5] KM: Really?

 

[0:07:06.2] DF: Yeah. I knew I could pass all of it. I just thought it would be fun to be a fireman. I really respect people that serve, and I just thought it would be fun. Cook in the firehouse.

 

[0:07:15.3] KM: I bet a lot of people don’t know that about you.

 

[0:07:17.6] DF: You’re probably right. A lot of –

 

[0:07:19.6] KM: They do now. When did you know you had a knack for creating great food?

 

[0:07:26.2] DF: Back when I was – I was probably about 18. It goes beyond that. My Aunt Doris raised my brother and I. My father was a railroader and he got transferred to Iowa when I was, gosh I was probably seven or eight and we couldn’t afford to move, because we couldn’t sell our house.

 

It took about seven years to sell it. My mom worked nights, and so my Aunt Doris would raise us, but she was a horrible cook. I started cooking for my brother and I. Then as I got older and I found jobs, I just excelled really quickly in the kitchen and I like to go see concerts and travel and have fun when I was young. I work in restaurants and ask if I could have a couple weeks off. If they said no, I’d quit and then come back and work for another restaurant. I just excelled at it.

 

I found it very interesting and I would – as I grew out of that path, I would starting working under chefs that would teach me. Then once I was done learning, or I wanted to be inspired by something else, I would find a different restaurant. I don’t recommend that now, because job jumping, with social media people keep track of that these days.

 

[0:08:32.1] KM: You are easily bored.

 

[0:08:34.5] DF: I can be. Yeah. I can be, but right now with what I’m doing, my passion is definitely driving me. I wouldn’t say easily bored. I just want to experience as much as I can, if that makes sense. That’s not really boredom.

 

[0:08:49.8] KM: That’s really not. But a restaurant business is a great place if you do want to jump around, because your training is transferrable from place-to-place.

 

[0:08:59.4] DF: Absolutely. Absolutely. Working with different chefs and working with different business-minded people, you really get to pick and pull what you’ve experienced from each person. I think that’s what’s –

 

[0:09:09.9] KM: Who has most inspired you? Is it Philippe that we talked about in the introduction from The Orient Express?

 

[0:09:17.3] DF: This is a tough question. Culinary-wise, Chef Philippe has inspired me, but the hard work and determination my parents have always raised with me has really been the backbone. Then creative-wise, I think it would probably be Philippe, or just going outside in the outdoors and loving good food and eating out and traveling.

 

[0:09:40.8] KM: You’ve cooked all kinds of food.

 

[0:09:43.7] DF: I finally figured out now what I want to do.

 

[0:09:45.5] KM: I heard you had the – We’re going to talk about your new restaurant, what you’re going to cook there. I’ve heard you make the best fried chicken in town. It’s healthy fried chicken.

 

[0:09:54.7] DF: Don’t tell anybody that. It’s been gluten-free for years. How the fried chicken recipe even came about was a funny story. We had the restaurant Ferneau, and when I first moved here – as a chef, you go through very many stages and I’m 42 now –

 

[0:10:12.2] KM: You finally told us.

 

[0:10:14.1] DF: But in my 20s when you become a chef and you start being patted on the back a bunch, your ego gets real big and you want to start cooking for yourself and creating beautiful dishes and doing very fine dining things.

 

When I moved here to Little Rock, it was just a different pace. Really taught me – I trust – I had an ego for many years. I still do, but when it came to fine-dining, I really wanted to cook great things that nobody has experienced here in Arkansas. Well, they weren’t ready for that. What I was putting out these beautiful menus, I was getting uni and different types of fish and –

 

[0:10:50.4] KM: What’s uni?

 

[0:10:51.5] DF: Sea urchin. There you go. Even –

 

[0:10:54.3] KM: See, I don’t even know what that is.

 

[0:10:55.6] DF: Like the fried chicken I put on the menu, because one time I ordered – I had a menu and I put it out, brand new menu and nobody ordered anything. It had steaks and there was all these beautiful sea food on there. I’m like, “You know, what? People want to eat fried chicken for lunch and eat it for dinner, but they want it dressed and not stewing it.” I was very angry when I did it. This was 10 years ago.

 

I put it on the menu and guess what? It was our number one seller. Over the years, I’m just – I fell in love with it too and it was just – the reason I’m telling you this is you come from a bigger city, you got the white coat, you’re doing all those great things, but then you come and you realize where you want to be. I love the South. I love Little Rock. I’m right now just cooking for what people want, and the fried chicken that was my first stab at it. I love fried chicken. I did the recipe that felt right and it –

 

[0:11:43.9] KM: It doesn’t have any flour in it?

 

[0:11:45.1] DF: Has no flour. It’s corn mill.

 

[0:11:46.3] KM: Fried chicken with – oh.

 

[0:11:48.9] DF: Whenever you think of things fried, my favorite thing was – say pizza. You got to have a great pizza, but a really good test of good pizza is how is it cold. Just like fried chicken, I love fried chicken, but I love cold fried chicken more than anything. If you have good, cold fried chicken, it has to be crispy. Well, do you achieve that, because flour gets gummy? Corn mill.

 

How I figured it out was I was going to catfish restaurants and never had real fried catfish, so I moved to the south. Their catfish is crispy. How come their chicken is – well, I’m just going to fry it like the catfish. It was not rocket science. It works. It all has to do with how you season it too.

 

[0:12:24.4] KM: Well, sure. With Ferneau spices.

 

[0:12:26.7] DF: A little bit.

 

[0:12:28.8] KM: That’s what makes you – separates you from everybody else that can cook, is you’re creative. That’s a talent. That’s a gift.

 

[0:12:35.1] DF: I feel, like I just pay attention and observe. The friends I make, I listen to what they want and I pay attention what people are cooking.

 

[0:12:43.2] DF: Well, I’m glad you got over your ego and you start cooking what people want instead of what Donnie wants to cook.

 

[0:12:49.8] DF: Hey, as a chef that’s a big one to admit.

 

[0:12:53.4] KM: I would imagine all chefs need to have a big ego, because you put yourself out there every time you cook something.

 

[0:12:59.5] DF: Well, what’s hard about being a chef is you’re literally only as good as your last meal. Every time you put yourself out there, you’re ready for ridicule. What’s crazy is I love being here on the radio show. The food network experience was great and all that, but when I became a chef and when this whole inspiration hit me, we weren’t celebrities, we weren’t treated like royalty. Nobody gave a shit if we were going to go from job to job.

 

Now it’s like, it’s so hard, because if you close a restaurant or you do something unsuccessful, you’re written about in all the papers and we don’t save lives. Our jobs really don’t matter that much, but it’s more of a celebrity thing.

 

Looking in that moving now, it is great, it’s a great tool for marketing, it’s a great tool for your business. But if you’re not a people person, this is the wrong industry.

 

[0:13:53.3] KM: You are a people person.

 

[0:13:54.9] DF: I have been. It’s a lot of my mom in me and my dad. Like I said, back when I started doing this – Philippe was a celebrity just because of all he did, but I never thought I would be sitting here with you.

 

[0:14:10.5] KM: Did you work with him on The Orient Express?

 

[0:14:11.7] DF: No. He –

 

[0:14:12.7] KM: He’d already been there.

 

[0:14:13.5] DF: He’d already been there. He opened up a restaurant at Rockford and it was a pretty big brigade of chefs. I was very successful with him.

 

[0:14:23.0] KM: That’s awesome. I think this is a great type of place to take a break. When we come back, we’ll continue our conversation with Chef Donnie Ferneau. We’ll hear about some of the celebrities he has cooked for, get the scoop on being a food network reality TV star and the application process, some of you might want to know that.

 

Find out about Donnie’s newest venture; he’s about to open yet another restaurant in Little Rock, Arkansas, and where you can buy the Donnie Ferneau signature spices, Ferneau spices and how to use them.

 

[0:14:51.5] TB: You’re listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. If you missed any part of the show, a podcast will be made available next week at flagandbanner.com’s website. If you prefer to listen on iTunes, YouTube or SoundCloud, you’ll find those links there as well. We’ll be right back.

 

[0:15:42.7] KM: You’re listening to Up in Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy. I’m speaking today with Chef Donnie Ferneau, the tireless, big-hearted, gun-toting, culinary genius and reality TV star of the food network.

 

[0:15:54.4] DF: That’s a first.

 

[0:15:55.3] KM: I loved writing that. You were on the barbecue – in 2015, you were on the BBQ Blitz. You were on something else, you said.

 

[0:16:04.7] DF: On cooking, I judged a barbecue show. Gosh, what was the name of it? Big Bad Barbecue Brawl.

 

[0:16:13.0] KM: Oh, okay.

 

[0:16:13.6] DF: I secretly had a love for barbecue. I just have it really – the cat was getting out of the back about that.

 

[0:16:20.0] KM: Okay. Good. In 2017, just last year, you did The Great Food Truck Race and you were the Southern Frenchie Truck, which I watched, Arwin watched, we all loved it. I personally really thought you should’ve won.

 

[0:16:34.6] DF: We did too. We actually got second place in sales that day that we got cut in Nashville. Yeah, but because of the challenges and everything we got squeezed out and that was a tough one. With my wife doing marketing, she was like, “Are you kidding me? We got second in sales. It’s all about marketing. How can you win last in sales and still win immunity?”

[0:16:53.6] KM: Tell the radio listeners that you were married to Meaghan.

 

[0:16:58.1] DF: Meaghan Ferneau. Yeah, she was –

 

[0:16:59.4] KM: She was on there with you.

 

[0:17:00.3] DF: Yeah, she’s the little blonde.

 

[0:17:01.6] KM: Squeaky little cute blonde.

 

[0:17:03.6] DF: Gorgeous.

 

[0:17:04.9] KM: She has a job in marketing and thought she did a great job.

 

[0:17:08.8] DF: She’s with PR. Yeah, she was PR and her agency was kind enough to let her leave with me for X amount of weeks. That was a big ask right there too.

 

[0:17:19.1] KM: Is she responsible for getting you on that show?

 

[0:17:21.5] DF: No. Actually, I’ve done some TV stuff in the past and I can’t really name some of the shows I’ve worked with, which is because I just can’t. Well, some of them and –

 

[0:17:30.8] KM: Is it because they haven’t aired yet?

 

[0:17:33.8] DF: I don’t want to get into it really. We’ve gotten pretty close and there was one show that I got on there and we were the final cut, like I was right there, but I didn’t want to play the character, because even though it is about cooking it’s still recasting a character.

 

[0:17:46.5] KM: Absolutely.

 

[0:17:46.8] DF: There was just this an area I wouldn’t play, because this is a small town. It’s Little Rock and I didn’t want to be a villain, if you will. This one, I was actually at the gym and I was working out, I got a message from food network on my Facebook page. They asked if we wanted The Great Food Truck Race. I’m like, “Man, I don’t want to do the food truck.” Then it’s all right. Then they said we could win $50,000. I’m like, “I guess, I’m doing a food truck. Let’s do this.”

 

They interviewed me and my wife for quite a while. Then we weren’t sure we were on the show, and then our original partner backed out a week and a half out, two weeks out, and then we put a – then we’re able to make a quick adjustment and we were able to get on the show and we had a great time and I have a life-long memory. It was a great time.

 

[0:18:38.3] KM: You go down and you auditioned.

 

[0:18:41.8] DF: We did not.

 

[0:18:43.2] KM: No, you don’t? Okay.

 

[0:18:44.5] DF: Most people do. There are casting calls –

 

[0:18:46.3] KM: Most of the time.

 

[0:18:47.1] DF: Most of the time there are casting calls. This one is – it was unique.

 

[0:18:50.6] KM: They knew who they wanted and they went out and sell –

 

[0:18:53.0] DF: Well, you got to understand it’s not – when you’re watching a show, it looks great. But you still have to be gone for five to six weeks.

 

[0:18:58.9] KM: That was my next question. How long are you gone?

 

[0:19:01.2] DF: We were gone about five weeks, and you have to – about four weeks, I think it was. You can’t tell anybody what you’re up to. This last one, I did the No Kid Hungry bicycle ride for 300 miles through California. We did a 100 miles a day for three days and then we were going to do the show and we were supposed to leave in March and then it was postponed. I was thinking, “Well, we’re not going to do the show now.”

 

Literally the week – the day I was supposed to leave for California to go to the bike ride, we had to leave for New Orleans to go film this show. Then I had to call the people in California and be like, “Listen, I can’t ride my bike this far. I know we raised the money, but I can’t tell you where I’m going either.”

 

[0:19:38.9] KM: They are just mad at you probably.

 

[0:19:40.8] DF: Well, no. They were cool. They were cool. I’m planning on riding again here in the near future, but I’m still with that charity. They weren’t too upset. We still raised some money.

 

[0:19:51.9] KM: You’re a volunteer. They can’t get too mad at you.

 

[0:19:53.8] DF: Yeah. The show was a great experience. It was a great experience for all of us onboard. We all learned a lot about each other and hopefully –

 

[0:20:00.6] KM: You’re still married.

 

[0:20:01.6] DF: Actually, we were only married for six months before we were carrying in that food truck in high-stress situation and we came out stronger.

 

[0:20:12.8] KM: That’s nice.

 

[0:20:12.8] DF: Could’ve gone one or two ways.

 

[0:20:13.8] KM: Yeah. That’s really nice. What was it like when you got voted off?

 

[0:20:17.9] DF: It was hard. I mean, all three of us were really disappointed, because every single one of us put our heart and soul into it. I even think all three of us came together a little bit more personally and we were really able to figure each other out. When it happened we were all like, “Man, this is rigged. This is blah, blah, blah.” Then when we thought about it it’s like, “You know what guys? We just got to see the whole sales on somebody else’s dime and we got to do a great experience.”

 

It was a lot of fun, but one of my biggest concerns was as a chef building the whole way up, I never wanted to be categorized as a reality chef, you know what I mean? I didn’t want to be – I never categorize as like a food truck TV chef. I wanted to be known for the others, but I like all of it being combined in one. It’s a lot of experiences.

 

What I really take away from that experience that we had, I got to eat some of the hottest food in the south.

 

[0:21:12.8] KM: I saw that.

 

[0:21:14.6] DF: Travel around and we really – with openings in restaurant. We had to do marketing and research on food network’s guide.

 

[0:21:21.7] KM: Did you get any – did they pay you at all, because you’re off of work, did you get any –

 

[0:21:25.1] DF: Yeah, we got money.

 

[0:21:26.2] KM: You got money while you were there, so you were like a paid –

 

[0:21:28.8] DF: Yeah. We had our food and everything taken care of, and we got paid a little bit.

 

[0:21:33.5] KM: A little compensation. I saw that where you ate some of the hottest food in the south.

 

[0:21:37.9] DF: What is it? The 410 degrees or whatever it was. The 400-degree hot chicken.

 

[0:21:44.7] KM: Why would anybody even want to do that? You can’t even taste the flavor of the –

 

[0:21:48.5] DF: It was delicious. Believe it or not, my wife loved it. She loved –

 

[0:21:51.7] KM: No kidding.

 

[0:21:52.2] DF: No. I was like, “You’re a crazy woman.” Nashville hot chicken, like I know it’s a cool trend out there and there’s some really good hot chick in the city, but we actually tried a lot of Nashville hot chicken in Nashville, and it’s delicious. If you see it on a menu somewhere or any of these local restaurants, I think there’s one just right down the street here that has not many too. It’s good.

 

[0:22:11.9] KM: Just one here in Little Rock?

 

[0:22:13.2] DF: Just there’s restaurants that have it on their menu.

 

[0:22:15.0] KM: Really?

 

[0:22:15.3] DF: Yeah. I’ve seen it around. It’s good stuff.

 

[0:22:17.4] KM: I would be afraid to eat that, because it seems like it would ruin your palette for tasting anything else.

 

[0:22:24.6] DF: Like tequila, right? I like tequila and hot stuff.

 

[0:22:27.6] KM: You do them both, so there you go.

 

[0:22:29.4] DF: They go great together.

 

[0:22:30.9] KM: You’re not thinking about doing any more shows, because like you said, you don’t want to be known as the reality TV star chef?

 

[0:22:35.1] DF: Well, right. Well, it’s not only that, but it’s like you work your whole life as a career and you do one thing you don’t want to be known as the – he does the food truck race. It’s a great thing to be known as, but I’ve also done a lot of great charity work, I’ve done restaurants, I cook fine-dining, I can do catering, I do other things out there.

 

[0:22:53.8] KM: Let’s talk about your restaurants. You opened up for no restaurant, which you talked about right before the break and how you wanted to do fine dining and –

 

[0:23:01.9] DF: We had so much fun there. I mean, at the time when we opened Ferneau, my business partners and I it was just the right fit. I feel like we sold at the right time too. We successfully sold it and –

 

[0:23:14.6] KM: How long were you in business?

 

[0:23:16.3] DF: A little over seven years. Oh, my goodness and I’ll tell you looking at real estate, when we put that restaurant in Hill Crest in 2004, there was a lot of real estate open. You could park on the streets, it wasn’t a bustling area. It’s just like the South Main District. We watched it grow. We were looking at real estate for putting the new restaurant and [0:23:36.9] diner into Hill Crest briefly, but we didn’t because you can’t get any real estate there.

 

It’s a beautiful neighborhood. I actually live in Hill Crest and it’s just really cool seeing that neighborhood just up and bustling. Ferneau was a great fit at the time, but I’d – that sell a restaurant for us, this isn’t.

 

[0:23:55.1] KM: Next you do, you went to North Little Rock and you opened up Good Food. I really miss your Good Food to-gos.

 

[0:24:02.1] DF: That was good, but that was something, again coming back to what I’m doing now I’m listening to what people want. That was again me cooking what I felt people needed just because of obesity, diabetes, cancers, Alzheimer’s, all the different reasons for medical. I really wanted to help change my community with healthy food and make it taste like comfort food, so like fried chicken, all those things, but using great ingredients, and I lost my ass. Don’t ever –

 

[0:24:26.9] KM: There you go again. You make it cooking for yourself and it wouldn’t what the people want it. You don’t think it was the location?

 

[0:24:32.7] DF: There is a lot of factors that played in. I don’t think it’s any one. I honestly think a lot of it was me trying to push something on people that they didn’t – they weren’t ready for.

 

[0:24:42.7] KM: I would drive over there just to get that healthy food, because it’s so hard to find healthy food to eat that you can eat at fast food, you can take it to go, or grab it at lunch.

[0:24:51.2] DF: It’s just like any experience you have in life, like if you’re with a bunch of your friends and you guys all think it’s a great idea, maybe it isn’t the best idea. Maybe you should talk to a few more people that aren’t your friends and find out. But the people I’m surrounding myself with at that time was very healthy.

 

I was very inspired by my parents in just saving people with food, because at the end of the day why we feel the way we do is because of what we put in our body at all – I can get really weird and long-winded about this stuff. I’ll keep it short, but that was something it was an experience. What I think that had happened and you being a business owner, it really got me ready for the next venture, because I know what it’s like to be successful and I know what it’s like to be not successful.

 

When you have a restaurant or you have a business that’s bringing money, you can make those mistakes because there is money that will be in the bank again next week and you can just tighten the screws. When you literally are having a failing business or one that doesn’t have the sales, any mistake you make can be catastrophic.

 

We were at the point towards the end where it was either pay my employees tax or rent and I’m going to go for my employees every time. We finally just had to wrap it up and close it up. At the time, I was sad. But now I sit back and I look around and wow, what a learning experience t hat was for me.

 

[0:26:11.1] KM: I saw your Good Food at hospitals, in the cafeterias.

 

[0:26:16.1] DF: That was really cool, but what was unfortunate there is even the people that worked in those hospitals that should be eating it because they’re around it, they just wanted fried catfish and hamburgers. You can’t change –

 

That’s a whole different issue, but for me I really – because I did the marketing research, but I was doing research in places like Dallas, New York, and seeing people have healthy restaurants in lines I thought, “Oh, my God. This is the future.” It is [0:26:44.4]. I’m not saying Arkansas is bad, but like hey, I’m in the south too. I’m not going anywhere. I love it here. We know what we want. With any business, if you want to make money or be successful at it, you have to be paying attention to what you’re consumers are wanting.

[0:27:01.0] KM: Did you use your own money to open up Good Food? Or did you have partners?

 

[0:27:04.3] DF: We had partners. We had partners.

 

[0:27:06.1] KM: Do you think it was mismanagement, or do you just think that – do you think that they didn’t do it?

 

[0:27:09.5] DF: I think, yeah. I mean, just like I saw a lot of factors going into it. I can go back and look and – I mean, every single area could’ve been done a little bit better, even on my own end. I mean, it wasn’t just everybody’s else’s fault. I’ve bit off more than I could chew at the time.

 

[0:27:27.7] KM: What did you do after that? You closed down Good Food.

 

[0:27:30.7] DF: Right.

 

[0:27:32.7] KM: I guess, that’s when you started spices, right?

 

[0:27:34.7] DF: No, I’ve in the spices now for years. The spice company started years ago. My brother Mike and I started this business for my – my dad sells it. My parents have the business now, but it’s good supplemental income for my dad and mom. People use them, but we use that same spice in the restaurant. Back in the Chal Bacci days when I was a young chefs, I had chefs that wouldn’t listen to me because they were older than I was and they knew more than me, of course. I would do these great dishes and then when I had the night off and you were a customer, you could tell if I was in the kitchen.

 

[0:28:06.2] KM: Because of the spices.

 

[0:28:06.9] DF: Because it was the seasoning was all. I got so upset one day, I walked in there and got rid of every spice except for warm flavors like cinnamon and cardamom and stuff that would normally not go on a steak or something like that and made one big seasoning.

 

Then of course, it’s had different variations through the years it’s been refined. It literally can go on everything, because if you go to a restaurant and you have a steak on your birthday and you go there every year on your birthday, you want that same damn steak. You don’t want somebody else’s version of what Chef Renoux or whoever is cooking that steak is. You want what you had last time. Consistency is key with any business, wouldn’t you agree?

 

[0:28:41.2] KM: Absolutely.

 

[0:28:41.9] DF: What that was, just create consistency. The spice business have been good for my parents and we all benefit from it. I’d buy from my parents and it works. Then after we did Good Food, I went over to the – I helped open The 1836 Club, the private club on Cantrell.

 

Then I had left there in May. When I left there, I went to go do the food network thing. During that time, my business partner and I we’re just talking about doing a cool concept of a restaurant. Here we are now.

 

[0:29:17.3] KM: About to open up another one.

 

[0:29:18.9] DF: We’re about to open it up. This one, I feel of all the things I’ve done and all the restaurants, all the chefs I’ve worked for, everything, all the people I’ve met, the place I’ve lived, this is what I meant to do. This food, the cuisine, the restaurant that we’re doing now, I feel like all of its light up to now.

 

[0:29:36.6] KM: I love being 40 years old. It’s like you have all these wisdom. You still have lots of energy and you have all these wisdom from all the things you’ve done. It all starts to come together.

 

[0:29:47.9] DF: It does. You’re going to remember back in your early 30s, I mean I remember being so flustered at 29 because I’ve got all these national accolades as a chef, but nobody would take me seriously because I was 29. Now I’ve got some gray hair and I’ve got a 4 in front my age and people are like, “Wow, he might know what he’s talking about.”

 

[0:30:04.4] KM: There is so much truth to that.

 

[0:30:06.3] DF: It’s unfortunate for some of the younger – the trailblazers out there, but my advice to them is just keep trailblazing, keep your head down, work hard. When you get old enough or when you lift it up, people will talk about you. If you’re too busy banging around, tambourine around and you don’t have the power to back it up, you’re just going to fail.

 

[0:30:25.4] KM: After you shut down Good Foods, there was a period before you went to work at The 1836 Club.

 

[0:30:32.5] DF: I went right into it.

 

[0:30:33.6] KM: You did.

 

[0:30:34.2] DF: I went right into it. I mean, it was like –

 

[0:30:35.8] KM: You walked in Marriot failing, flailing, not a failing, a flailing restaurant doors because you already went from one career into another career.

 

[0:30:46.2] DF: What was cool about it though, and you got to understand Little Rock, and I can talk about it now, but we were losing our ass over that good food. With the media, it goes back to how as a chef you are in the limelight, they can write about anything they want. Overnight, I was able to thread the needle to make it look like I am leaving Good Food to open The 1836 Club, when really we were getting evicted and we were closing down the doors and couldn’t afford anything, but my employees were paid.

 

We were losing 5, 6,000 a month. The media we were able to just like, boom, boom, boom. The deal was done like –

 

[0:31:24.0] KM: So fast.

 

[0:31:24.6] DF: It’s so fast, but nobody around us knew. I can talk about it now, because it’s all put to bed, but I remember coming home that night and it’s like, “Baby, we did it.” She was, “What are you talking about?” It’s like, “The newspaper is going to read different in the next few days. I promise.”

 

It’s like, not that Good Food closed and we all survived, but we’re closing it down to – we were able to put a Band-Aid on what the reality was. The career was still able to stay, move forward. I go back around and look at it and wow, what a learning moment I had.

 

[0:31:54.6] KM: Humility. Humility. It’s a great teacher.

 

[0:31:55.5] DF: It really was. It really was. With my friend, they’ll talk shit. Publicly, if you look at my Facebook and my social media, I’m trying to be uplifting and I try to put a positive image out there. We all have our –

 

[0:32:08.4] KM: I can see you loving to open up restaurants. It just seems like would be such a great creative outlet for you to design the kitchen, design the menu, put it together. Did you love opening 1836? You’re like, “Oh, this is my favorite thing to do.”

 

[0:32:24.1] DF: That one was very challenging for me. It was fun. I learned a lot about different people’s personalities and just different types. We were very lucky going into it, all the people involved, because it was just – what was the pack a house and they closed and they had this gorgeous kitchen and everything was pretty much done and it was –

 

[0:32:42.3] KM: It was still there.

 

[0:32:43.0] DF: Just ready to go. I mean, that kitchen is – I think you could cook for a thousand people out of that kitchen. It is the most beautiful –

 

[0:32:50.9] KM: What’s the most you can really cook for, the size of crowd you can really cook for well? I mean, over 200 gets the –

 

[0:33:00.0] DF: That I’ve done? Or –

 

[0:33:00.7] KM: No. Not that you’ve done, but you think is the limit you should do when you want to serve a good meal. What would you say is the limit that you could really serve amount of people and serve it well? Anybody, not just you. Any chef.

 

[0:33:13.7] DF: It depends on how big your staff is and how trained they are. It depends on how well your employees – how thin are you going to spread yourself. If you’re going to do a party for 500, you’d better have a staff that you guys have been trained to do party for 500. If you’re a small restaurant that normally does 50 people a night, and you’re going to do a party for 500, you might not want to try that. Do a little bit smaller, but like a 100 people to 200.

 

Right now, I’ll do some catering and I’ll do anything from a 100 to 200 people. I prefer smaller parties, but I think one of the biggest challenges, it was really cool. So that we cook for some celebrities, but we had just opened for now, the Slight 60 was coming to town and that was President Clinton, the top 60 [inaudible 0:33:57.2] in the country at the Clinton Center.

 

[0:34:00.0] KM: What would you call them?

 

[0:34:00.7] DF: It was called the Slight 60 was the name –

 

[0:34:02.2] KM: Slight 60.

 

[0:34:03.1] DF: Was the name of the event. I think CNN and Newsweek through it. It was a great experience, because we did five courses with a 180 people and two of the courses had options with different wine pairings. From the time we dropped the first plate to the last plate, it was just under 90 minutes. Think about that.

 

Then not only the first time we did it. I lied my ass off. I told the person, “Yeah, we do this all the time.” Never did it. I had a great staff. I believed in them. The team that I had that did it, they all know who they are the old Ferneau team. They were so good that we – not only did we successfully did an event, but they went ahead and hired us immediately for the next year. It was, I think it was ’06 and ’07.

 

[0:34:48.5] KM: Where was the event?

 

[0:34:49.8] DF: The Clinton Library. That’s where Ted Kennedy, Warren Buffet – it was really cool to see all those people there. What it did for us as a team, it made us all stronger and we really learned our limitations without losing it, without hurting our careers, I guess you could say. Because when you’re on that stage and you don’t perform well, shit can go in a hand basket real quick.

 

[0:35:14.9] KM: Yes, it can. All right, let’s take a quick break. When we come back, we’ll continue our conversation with Chef Donne Ferneau. We’ll hear some more celebrity stories maybe. I definitely want to get to talking about his new restaurant, the Cathead’s Diner where he says he’s putting it altogether and making his favorite restaurant maybe so far.

 

[0:35:35.2] TB: You’re listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. If you missed any part of the show, a podcast will be made available next week at flagandbanner.com’s website. If you prefer to listen on iTunes, YouTube or SoundCloud, we’ll have those links there as well. We’ll be right back.

 

[0:36:25.2] KM: All right, you’re listening to Up in Your Business with me, Kerry McCoy. I’m speaking today with Arkansas renowned executive chef and entrepreneur Donnie Ferneau.

 

You’re opening your own restaurant soon.

 

[0:36:55.4] DF: Yes, we are.

 

[0:36:56.4] KM: I just got to tell the listeners, I’m not going to go into details about how – what a roller coaster owning your own business is and how you’d see their feast or famine all the time and that you really do need to have nerves of steel to do it. You’re doing it again. You’re opening up Cathead’s Diner with Kelli Marks.

 

[0:37:15.8] DF: Kelli Marks. Yeah, Kelli Marks is incredible. Like I said, you look at life and if you just sit back, keep your head down and work hard and you’re patient, things will happen. There were different ideas in the beginning on which direction we’re going to go, who you’re going to work with and all that and Kelly and I, we are both the same parts in our career. She just closed down Sweet Love and was doing some work in –

 

[0:37:37.2] KM: What is Sweet Love?

 

[0:37:38.4] DF: Sweet Love Bakery. Oh, my God. If you guys don’t know –

[0:37:40.0] KM: It’s a bakery.

 

[0:37:41.2] DF: If you don’t know Sweet Love Bakery, you should look on Instagram, like Sweet Love Bakes.

 

[0:37:43.5] KM: You said she closed it.

 

[0:37:44.9] DF: She did. She did.

 

[0:37:46.5] KM: Well, then I’m not going to look on Instagram. She’s going to make my mouth water and I’m going to be frustrated.

 

[0:37:51.2] DF: She’s still accessible, but what’s great and you talked about how I love opening restaurants, this is where I am. This will be the last concept I really want to open. This is like what –

 

[0:38:01.7] KM: Oh, whatever. Did you all hear that be as? I’m glad you believe your own be as.

 

[0:38:09.7] DF: No. I mean, this one has to be successful. If you look at Little Rock, if you look at my history, it shows I jumped around quite a bit. I mean, if you look at it, if you’re written about, “Wow, he jumps around a lot.” But people don’t see, “Okay, wow he lost his butt.” Here is I went and did this and did this and did this.”

 

This one, I really love Arkansas. I love Little Rock. I mean, you can live anywhere else, but 20 minutes from now we can be out hiking somewhere, fishing, doing whatever you want. You live in a big city and I mean, it takes hours. I’m here because of family and now I’ve got a ton of friends. My roots are here.

 

Now this is something that I’ve got to – this one has to work. This one has to –

 

[0:38:49.3] TB: What’s with the name Cathead’s Diner? That makes me not want to eat there actually.

 

[0:38:54.1] DF: We’ve heard that from a couple –

 

[0:38:54.7] KM: We’re going to have cathead in our soup.

 

[0:38:57.5] DF: I had to learn about it too. We have another partner, our investor and he is born and bred here. Cathead is a cathead biscuit and what a cathead biscuit is, it’s a biscuit the size of a cat’s head. At first, I wasn’t sure –

 

[0:39:15.8] KM: Look, people in the room knew that. I can’t believe it. Somebody in the room knew that. Okay, cathead biscuits, the size of a biscuit. Must be big.

 

[0:39:22.5] DF: The size of a cat’s head, but it’s something that’s nichy, like you won’t forget it, will you?

 

[0:39:27.2] KM: No.

 

[0:39:27.4] DF: No, you won’t. We came up with a bunch of different names and they all run together. At first, it just took a second to sink in and now that we’ve got the design done, the logo, just the concept, I just love it. It all makes sense. I think it’s great.

 

[0:39:43.4] KM: Can we go see the logo anywhere? You have the website up yet?

 

[0:39:45.9] DF: Yeah. You can follow us on Cathead’s Diner on Instagram and it’s cathead diner.

 

[0:39:52.0] KM: It’s all one word?

 

[0:39:54.0] DF: Cathead is one word. Then it’s diner. It’s not cathead, make sure the S is at the end. It’s on Facebook and Instagram. We are looking to open up spring of 2018. Construction is taking a little bit longer than we thought –

 

[0:40:08.9] KM: I thought you bought an old building?

 

[0:40:10.0] DF: We didn’t buy it. We’re renting.

 

[0:40:11.8] KM: Moved into an old building?

 

[0:40:13.3] DF: We did. We moved in to the old Sterling paint building and Cromwell is moving their employees over there. We’re going to have about 13 or 14 nice apartments, studio apartments that overlook the city on top.

 

[0:40:24.1] KM: Well, you got customers instantly then.

 

[0:40:26.2] DF: We hope so.

 

[0:40:27.0] KM: How many is in the Crom offer?

 

[0:40:29.2] DF: I think there’s about a 100 to 120 employees there.

 

[0:40:30.8] KM: Excellent.

 

[0:40:31.9] DF: That area, there’s a huge cycling community over there. If you’ve got lost 40 in Rebel Kettle, so there’s already some established businesses there. You’ve got a whole network of hard labors. You’ve got Steel Mill, you’ve got Port Authority, where my brother Jeff works, you’ve got the airport, you’ve got pack here. There’s a lot of business out there.

 

[0:40:52.6] KM: Well, Heifer International is right there.

 

[0:40:54.2] DF: Yeah, I didn’t even get to that, but –

 

[0:40:55.3] KM: Clinton Library.

 

[0:40:56.4] DF: Clinton Library.

 

[0:40:56.8] KM: Who would ever thought that area of town was going to be turned around and be so fun.

 

[0:41:00.5] DF: Even the Axiom building. I mean, if you pay attention to that, you see where that’s going.

[0:41:05.3] TB: You got a lot of clientele in the area to pull from.

 

[0:41:06.8] DF: We do. We’re going to have a lot of excitement. With any business you’re going to open up and you’re going to beat that drum and everybody is going to look at you, it’s our job to this point to not piss anybody off once we get in the door.

 

[0:41:17.6] KM: Can you do that, Donnie really? Can you do that? Here is like, “I’m going to cook this and you’re going to eat it.”

 

[0:41:23.8] DF: Well, it’s just like any restaurant. The one thing that’s great is this city supports the realm and they support local businesses. What’s hard as a business owner is being prepared for that initial rush. How do you maneuver it? How do you it correctly? Do you listen to them during the honeymoon and add on and build more, or do you just write it out and just do it?

 

[0:41:45.7] KM: Which one?

 

[0:41:46.6] DF: Well, what we’re going to do is we’re going to go in with our best game plan, we’re going to work our butts off, we’re going to perfect these recipes and make these. We’re really listening to what Arkansas wants and we’re going to give it our best effort and we’re going to train our staff and we’re going to make sure everybody is there. Now we know there is going to be – the floodgates are going to open when we’re –

 

[0:42:03.8] KM: What’s the food?

 

[0:42:05.2] DF: What we call the food, somebody said it was ambiguous, because they weren’t sure what it was. When I say southern comfort food, I know exactly what that is because –

 

[0:42:12.5] KM: I know what that is.

 

[0:42:13.5] DF: Because would you go to grandma’s house, that’s just she’s going to cook.

 

[0:42:15.6] KM: Well, we got you fried chicken.

 

[0:42:17.5] DF: The concept really is we’re focusing on breakfast, brunch, lunch and some dinner and catering. It’s biscuits, barbecue, fried chicken, donuts and pies with like a meat in three sides for lunch. Blue plate specials, like – yes. That’s it.

 

[0:42:38.9] KM: Those are all my favorite foods; donuts, fried chicken, barbecue and pies. I don’t even like cakes. You literally named my favorite foods.

 

[0:42:47.7] DF: Well, they’re all of ours and so there’s a struggle because I do live a healthy lifestyle, but I already told myself like, “I’m going to put on 15 pounds and just hold it there.”

 

[0:42:56.0] KM: I don’t trust a chef who’s not fat, I must tell you that. Yeah.

 

[0:43:00.0] DF: Hey, you trust me.

 

[0:43:00.2] KM: Well, that’s true. I do. You are not fat. But you’re tall. You can eat a lot.

 

[0:43:05.8] DF: Yeah, I can still put on 20 pounds, nobody would notice. I’m good.

 

[0:43:10.9] KM: How hard was it to come up with the recipes?

 

[0:43:13.1] DF: It comes back to, I feel like with Kelli, our past just meant to be together on this, she’s been doing bakery forever. I mean, if you follow her stuff on Instagram, it’s Sweet Love Bakes, you’ll see. I mean, her attention to detail. She can do scratch-made biscuits to sell out, but some of the most beautiful wedding cakes you’ve ever seen. She even did my wedding cake.

 

Even themed cake; she has one under that’s like a yeti cooler. She’s done cars. She did a unicorn. Just cool stuff. She’s just very OCD with what she is trying to put out. Perfection. She’s practicing all the time.

 

One thing I think is cool about our barbecue is it’s a real wood fire pit. We’re not using gas, we’re not supplementing. It’s all wood-fired.

 

[0:44:02.5] KM: It takes talent to do that, doesn’t it?

[0:44:03.5] DF: There was a lot of it – Oh, my God. I thought barbecue was going to be easy. I was so nervous really to photoshoot yesterday in a sneak peek for some people. It was my first time putting my barbecue in front of critics. I’m happy they said they liked it. We’ll see if the rest of the city does, but I paid a lot of attention, I’ve tried a lot of barbecue. It’s not just I’ve been doing it in my backyard and just here you go, or I saw it on TV once and thought it would be cool.

 

[0:44:26.3] KM: Well, you were judge at a barbecue contest.

 

[0:44:28.4] DF: I’ve done competition barbecue as well and all that, but it’s a passion. When you look at cooking fine dining, you’re cooking one dish at a time and you’re making it beautiful and you’re in that moment. But when you’re cooking, like batch cooking in large stuff, it’s as if you’re cooking family meal all the time.

 

Where Kelli and I, this restaurant, the recipes, they’re just gainfully together. We’re taking – we’ve got some good friends that are giving us some really great Arkansas heritage recipes. We’re going to be bringing some really great stuff back from the day. With this concept, we want to pay homage to the south and we want to have some place fit; two-year-old kids, all the way up to 95-year-old grandparents will have a great time at. It’s for the family, and you can have a cold beer too.

 

[0:45:10.4] KM: Well, every guy likes that.

 

[0:45:11.7] DF: Everybody likes that. A glass of champagne, they’ll be bubbly. We’ll have some good brunch cocktails and – Yeah, we’re very excited about it.

 

[0:45:22.8] KM: I love your concept. If you could give advice to yourself, what advice would you tell yourself of 20 years ago?

 

[0:45:38.3] DF: That’s a tough one.

 

[0:45:39.6] KM: It’s a good one.

 

[0:45:40.4] TB: Invest in Bitcoin.

[0:45:43.0] DF: I was going to say that.

 

[0:45:46.4] KM: That was good, Tim.

 

[0:45:47.6] DF: Or even Apple, I mean back in the day. When I was younger, I would’ve taken more – I wish I could’ve told myself to stop and listen to my elders a little bit more and rather than thinking their advice was silly and stupid and putting into the side. I wish there is quite a few people a bit in my life that I wish I would’ve just taken that extra time to get in their head a little bit more and find out what’s in there, because there is some people –

 

Bob Coleman was a very good friend of mine. I love him to death. Coleman Barry. Right now, I’m doing his barbecue restaurant and I just want to call Bob so many times and talk ribs.

 

[0:46:25.9] KM: Has he passed away or something?

 

[0:46:26.9] DF: He passed away about three years ago now. It may have been last and two, three years ago. He is Coleman Dairy, Coleman Mill, Bob Coleman. He made the best ribs. He always had the tailgate at one memorial and his ribs were amazing and better than anyone I’ve ever had. Of course, this is a restaurant all the Colemans are going to come are going to love it, but the one guy Bob senior, like I just want to talk to him about the ribs. I wish I would’ve taken that time then, even that one small moment. Even there is grandparents, or senior – just people around you, just experience the people around you more, I guess that would be my advice for the young.

 

[0:46:59.4] KM: Learn the lesson.

 

[0:47:00.0] DF: Learn the lesson. Shut up and listen more.

 

[0:47:02.1] KM: You obviously, or at least it seems like to me, have got a star following you around. Your life is very serendipitous. I mean, you close one restaurant, another opportunity opens, you run it, you said it was meant to be that you and Kelli would run into each other and open this restaurant together. You do seem to be operating under a special star. Why do you think that is?

 

[0:47:34.2] DF: That is a good one.

 

[0:47:35.5] KM: Is it just hard work?

 

[0:47:36.8] DF: I think it is hard work, but it is – some is luck, but surround yourself with good people and be careful with what you say to people. Make sure that the friends you hold close to you are good. Even though you might have really close friends around you, try to see for the bullshit, because sometimes they’re not the ones that you need to be surrounded by. The older I’ve gotten, it’s great because reason I had one that I was so involved and really cared for, but now it’s like the warning signs. I can see it now. I don’t want to be guarded.

 

I think that the reason for my success right now is I just got a really great support system around me and I’m able to see when things aren’t right and it goes with building a good family around you. If it’s not your mom and dad or your brothers, or you’re an only child and all that, it has to be your friends. You have to have something you call family around you that you can lean on, a bouncing room that you can close the door and nobody is going to judge you. If they do, they laugh at the end. I think that’s what’s been a big part.

 

[0:48:42.6] KM: One word to sum you up. I’m giving him all of the hard questions today.

 

[0:48:48.4] DF: No, that’s a good one.

 

[0:48:49.3] KM: One word to sum you up. I know –

 

[0:48:51.3] DF: Complicated.

 

[0:48:53.1] KM: That is so good. That is so right. That is perfect. What do you want your legacy in Arkansas to be? Fried Chicken?

 

[0:49:01.7] DF: Just good food and laughter.

 

[0:49:04.5] KM: Where do I buy your spice?

 

[0:49:06.0] DF: You can get our spices right now online ferneauseasonings.com. You can also go to Eggshells Kitchen Company, which Eggshells is great.

 

[0:49:12.8] KM: Is that up on Kavanaugh?

 

[0:49:14.0] DF: It’s up on Kavanaugh. They have some great cooking classes there. Just check that place out, Eggshells Kitchen Company is great. Then also Edwards Food Giant on Cantrell sells it as well.

 

[0:49:24.5] KM: Really?

 

[0:49:24.7] DF: Oh, yeah. It’s great there. They have a wonderful meat department there.

 

[0:49:28.6] KM: They have a great meat department. For everybody who is listening, they’ve got one of the best meat departments.

 

[0:49:31.9] DF: They make their sausage from scratch. I mean, there’s a guy that’s in there every I think it’s Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday making scratch sausage.

 

[0:49:38.4] KM: It’s Edwards – what’s it called? Edwards Food Giant?

 

[0:49:40.2] DF: Edwards Food Giant on Cantrell.

 

[0:49:41.6] KM: Cantrell.

 

[0:49:42.7] DF: If you’re doing barbecue or cooking for the masses, or testing some stuff out, they just got a great selection of meat. Yeah, I mean it’s old school butcher. It’s like an old school grocery store butcher shop.

 

[0:49:53.0] KM: It really is. It really, really is. Donnie, you get a gift from me. I couldn’t decide what to give you, a cook book, or a wine holder, so I decided to give you from Arkansas Flag and Banner a patriotic salt and pepper shaker.

 

[0:50:05.2] DF: I love it. This is great. No, I love salt and pepper shakers.

[0:50:07.9] KM: Aren’t they fun?

 

[0:50:08.4] DF: They are. You can’t have enough of them.

 

[0:50:10.4] KM: Not that you really want to use those, because they’re so cute, but –

 

[0:50:13.0] DF: I collect them. I have a couple –

 

[0:50:13.7] KM: Do you?

 

[0:50:14.2] DF: I have a few. I have some blue suede shoes, I’ve got some cool stuff, I’ve got some good salt and pepper shakers.

 

[0:50:19.0] KM: If you’ve got a entrepreneurial story that you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. Send your bio or your contact information to –

 

[0:50:28.4] TB: Questions@upyourbusiness.org.

 

[0:50:31.1] KM: Someone will be in touch. Finally to our listeners, thank you for spending time with me and Donnie Ferneau. If you think this program has been about you, you’re right. But it’s also been for me. Thank you for letting me fulfill my destiny. My hope is today that you’ve heard or learned something that’s been inspiring or enlightening and that it, whatever it is, will help you up your business, your independence, or your life.

 

I am Kerry McCoy and I’ll see you next time on Up in Your Business. Until then, be brave and keep it up.

 

[END OF INTERVIEW]

 

[0:51:10.1] TB: You’ve been listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. If you’d like to hear this program again, next week go to flagandbanner.com, click on the tab labeled ‘Radio Show’ and there you’ll find podcasts with links to resources you heard discussed on today’s show.

 

Kerry’s goal, to help you live the American dream.

 

[END]

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