May 03, 2011 08:00 AM by Lisa Princ
Sunday night on NBC‘s America’s Next Great Restaurant we watched as Jamawn Woods took home the win as his healthy soul food won over the investors as well as the diners making Soul Daddy a reality for the dad of three. In a press conference earlier, Jamawn talks about taking home the win – keep reading for all the details!
America’s Next Great Restaurant fans watched as Jamawn Woods won the the ultimate prize last night in the season finale. After the finale, Jamawn, along with Lorena Garcia took some time to chat with the press today about the win. Here is what they wanted to share with everyone.
Question: Jamawn, at what point did you think you may be able to win it, and Lorena, when did you think Jamawn had a chance to win it?
Lorena Garcia: I had a feeling since the 3rd week of the show when I saw Jamawn’s food. He’s a team player and he had his people down perfect. To me it was a no brainer.
Jamawn Woods: For me it was the episode when I made the gumbo. I started off with wings and waffles and when I expanded that and saw that people liked it I thought I may have a chance to win this thing.
Question: How involved were you Jamawn in the final design of the restaurant and the menu?
Jamawn Woods: I was very involved – that is one thing I love and respect about the investors, they let me do my thing. The restaurant has to be where you will see and feel me when you walk in. You’ll get that when you walk into Soul Daddy. You’ll get that healthier version of soul food as well.
Question: When did you find out that you won, and what city will you be relocating to?
Jamawn Woods: I found out 2 weeks ago that I was the winner, and as far as the moving it is still up in the air. I am still talking to my fiance about where we want to move.
Question: Do you think you will ever open a restaurant in your home town of Detroit?
Jamawn Woods: That is definitely important to me, but riight now I am just focused on these three restaurants. I need to make sure they are running well and all the Soul Daddy fans and customers are happy with the food first.
Question: Can you tell us about the evolution of your concept?
Jamawn Woods: The change came back to the gumbo…it hit me like ‘how long can I make wings and waffles before they kick me off’. In that episode I had a talk with Lorena and she said attention to detail and a healthier menu would be better. Once I took her advice I changed my concept a bit and felt good about it.
Question: When we saw the reveal last night, the restaurant looked different than what you had originally envisioned, can you explain?
Jamawn Woods: They kept a lot of my ideas, pictures, a mural of me, and jazz things, but they put their little twist on it as well.
Question: You’re a family man, how does it feel to feed so many families?
Jamawn Woods: It feels good to feed so many. I am showing America and families that you can eat soul food that is healthy.
Question: What was the most important thing you learned about yourself?
Jamawn Woods: That I just stayed true to myself. I always try to be the same person and stay true to my guns and I saw the investors and people fall is love with me. I stayed true to me.
Question: What was the biggest challenge in making your concept healthy?
Jamawn Woods: Doing my research and showing the judges that my concept of healthier soul food could be made and could be a winning concept.
Question: Will we see your fried chicken back on the menu?
Jamawn Woods: Right now we are trying out the healthier version of soul food, but who knows in a few months someone may want some fried chicken. We’ll see where it goes.
Question: Lorena, what was the biggest factor is choosing a winner?
Lorena Garcia: I was looking for passion and commitment in the contestants and Jamawn showed that throughout the competition. I believe you have to be committed and passionate about your idea, so that was extremely important to me. Then when he took his menu and made it healthier it was a winning formula for me.
Question: What are you most looking forward to and/or concerned about Jamawn?
Jamawn Woods: I am looking forward to feedback from the customers, I want to make sure they come in and are enjoying the food. I am worrying about bad business, that is one of the main concerns in the restaurant business.
Question: What is one thing that you learned that you didn’t know in your small business?
Jamawn Woods: I took for granted detail, I got that from Lorena, one small thing can blow your service.
Question: How are you going to market to those who do not think of soul food as healthy?
Jamawn Woods: That’s what it is, those like that don’t crave soul food are my focal point. I want to make them realize that it can be healthy. The goal is to get you into Soul Daddy and once you’re in you’ll love it.
Congratulations once again to Jamawn and Soul Daddy!Did the investors make the right decision? Comment below and share your thoughts with us!
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Photo Courtesy of NBC