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“Food brings people together,” said Kenn Richardson, owner of Succotash Cajun Cuisine in Guild, Tennessee. Succotash opened in early 2020 right before things were being locked down and it is the culmination of years worth of work from Kenn in the restaurant industry.
Kenn was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee and his passion for food and cooking was something that developed at an early age. “I’ve been cooking ever since I was little,” Kenn said, “my uncle had a restaurant growing up, so I’ve always been in the restaurant business.”
His earliest memories of being in the kitchen are when Kenn was “probably about twelve years old,” he said. “We were cooking in Texas, we had a country restaurant in Texas, and then when I turned sixteen it was just full-blown cooking,” Kenn said.
Kenn’s love for cooking was something that brought him closer with his family, “it started off with my grandmother, then my mother, then my uncle, then once I started to professionally cook I had quite a few mentors,” Kenn said.
Kenn ran a restaurant in downtown Chattanooga previously, but said that the idea of opening a cajun restaurant had always been something that he’s wanted to do, “I’ve always had this idea in the back of my head,” Kenn said.
His love for Cajun food is something that he’s picked up throughout the years of working as a professional chef, “it came about years ago when I was a corporate chef,” Kenn said. “It was one of those things to where I’m flying around all America, fixing stores implementing the system I created, I would always go to New Orleans. I’ve always made cajun food, and since I’ve always made cajun food the recipes are always going to be with me,”
“Cajun to me is everything really. It has every ethnicity that you could possibly think of. You have Creole, you have Native American, you even have Chinese, you have a little bit of Korean, a lot of French,” he said.
The idea of all different cultures combining to make Cajun food is something that Kenn values about the food that he makes. Talking about the origins of Cajun food and how it was made, “when people dock, they bring their culture,” Kenn said. “It’s all about the history and the culture. Just learning about food, in general, brings about history, and learning the history of where your family is from is one thing that’s just mind-boggling, it’s eye-opening,” he said.
With the idea in the back of his head for years, Kenn just needed a building to turn his dream into reality. That’s what happened when he found the storefront that Succotash is located at now in Guild, “as soon as we moved down here I was ‘what was this place?’ it used to be a Mexican place, and I was like ‘it’d be great for us’,” Kenn said. “It’s a quiet town, right by the water, and I already had my recipes and I’ve been working on these recipes probably about 20 years, just working on them.”
The biggest challenge in his way was the timing of everything as shutdowns took place across the county just as Succotash was beginning to get up and running, “it was hard you know because everything was still shut down. It was a little difficult because trying to get everything and do a full remodel during a pandemic it was difficult,” Kenn said.
Luckily for Kenn and the rest of the crew at Succotash, the community in Guild and the neighboring towns were supportive and did whatever they could to help Kenn keep the business going, “we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the community,” Kenn said.
“We did a give back to the community, it was a benefit dinner. There were quite a few house fires at the beginning of the year. A couple of families from Sand Mountains whose houses burned down. A lot of people lost a lot of stuff, so we did a give back to the community that day and we raised a little over 6,000 dollars,” Kenn said. “They take care of us, we take care of them”
With delicious Cajun food constantly coming out of the kitchen, it’s easy to see why Kenn is so pleased to be doing what he’s doing, “I’m happy now, I’m doing what I love to do,” Kenn said. “I never say I’m at work, people say ‘hey are you working?’ I’m like ‘well I’m cooking’ but I never consider cooking work,” Kenn said.
Succotash is located at 11098 US-41, Guild, Tennessee 37340 and is open from 10-8 Tuesday to Saturday and 10-6 on Sunday.
Category: Restaurant News