Chef Creole’s interview with the Miami New- Times disproves the popular notion that every chef in America would just die for the opportunity to get a gig with the Food Network. Chef Creole, whose real name is Wilkinson Sejour, made it clear during the interview that he enjoys his way of life, which is partly why he turned down a an offer for a show with the network.
The interview paints Sejour as a down to earth guy who’d be perfect for television. Sejour, who is Haitian, pulled himself out of one of the poorest areas in Miami–Little Haiti– to open a chain of ‘Chef Creole’ restaurants in the Miami-Dade area and sell his own line of sauces. When his mother told he and his brother to either start a business or go to college, Sejour and his brother opted to start a business. Why? “Everything is arithmetic. You don’t need school to make money,” he says.
But what Sejour is unwilling to give up are his friends, not even for a Food Network contract:
Signing with a major network meant Sejour would have to watch what he said, how he acted, and whom he called friends. “If I’m at my friend’s house and the feds walk in there and arrest everybody, then I got to explain what to who? Because you’re some big network? Because my public relations is shitting bricks? Ah, f*ck you. I ain’t got time for that sh!t,” he says.
Sejour also has “a criminal record including marijuana possession, three counts of disorderly conduct, and one felony charge for child abuse [later dropped].”
Even still, after he was interviewed by the Food Network and offered a show, he still tried at first to move toward making it work, but was unable to reach a deal:
He says he flew to New York, charmed the bosses, and received a 30-page contract. The network offered him $50,000 for a cookbook and $4,000 per episode. But they also wanted the rights to the four episodes Sejour had already filmed with Major Minerz — at no additional price.
No deal. Mr. Sejour is his own man.