2020 was a devastating year for the restaurant industry. According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurant and food-service sales were $240 billion below its 2020 pre-pandemic forecasts.
Despite the impact that COVID had on the industry, there were a few who swiftly made changes to their business model and found success, even when the world seemed to be crumbling around us. Chef Derrick Turton (also known as Chef Teach) of World Famous House Of Mac, for example, was one of them. The South Florida restaurant helped to provide food for first responders, offering delivery of mac and cheese beyond the city, to Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Tallahassee.
The former music manager of Pitbull was inspired after the death of his father to change the direction of his life. Teach attended culinary school in 1998, but began his professional career in the music industry, where he managed Pitbull for more than 15 years while working alongside other hip-hop royalty such as A$AP Rocky and Yo Gotti. During his time in the music industry, Teach developed friendships with artists such as N.O.R.E. and Fat Joe in and out of the studio. Next thing you know, he discovered his love for cooking amazing dishes for his friends.
Celebrities like Rick Ross, Fat Joe and A$AP Mob are huge fans of Chef Teach’s scrumptious dishes. The coolest recognition yet? According to Teach himself, the Venus and Serena Williams Invitational was amongst his biggest and most prestigious events thus far. In this interview with ESSENCE, he Chef Teach shares advice for up and coming Black food entrepreneurs, the concept behind the menu and why of all cuisines, he chose mac & cheese.
How did you transition from up-and-coming chef to music manager?
I went to culinary school prior to my music career, but never really took it seriously as a profession. However, I would always cook therapeutically in the studios for my artists. We would have cookouts, etc. For example, I used to cook for Bun B from UGK all the time. He’s the one that really put the battery in my back, and urged me to take my talent seriously.
Why mac & cheese?
It was God’s plan. No, seriously. Mac & cheese was always the thing that stood out in the spread. Always.
Can you explain the concept behind the menu?
I would say the menu is comfort food, with a focus on gourmet mac & cheese. We have about 18 different variations of mac and cheese — everything from jerk chicken mac, seafood mac, chicken cordon bleu mac, philly cheese steak mac and more. We also don’t cook with any pork or MSG.
What advice would you give up & coming Black food entrepreneurs?
Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Comfort kills. If you don’t shoot your shot, you’re going to miss 100% of the ones you don’t take.
What do you think makes the World-Famous House of Mac stand out?
I think World Famous House of Mac has organically tapped into the culture by understanding it. It’s not just about the food, it’s the experience — the ambiance, the music, the service. The full experience makes us stand out from many.
Were there any challenges in transitioning from a food truck to a brick-and-mortar location(s)?
Staffing has been one of our initial challenges. It’s hard to find people that can see the vision. Unfortunately, a lot of people are looking for instant gratification, but don’t want to put the work in.
How can Black Foodies support? (where can they purchase it if they don’t live in Miami)?
You can follow us on IG & Facebook @worldfamoushouseofmac, and order from us! We deliver nationwide www.GetHouseOfMac.com.