Call it destiny, a twist of fate, or just plain luck but
whichever it was; it has landed Jamawn (Jay) Woods in the
restaurant hot seat.
Woods, a forklift operator at Chrysler's Sterling Heights
Assembly Plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan was just like any
other man until an NBC network scout happened to stumble upon his
Facebook pictures of his homemade chicken wings and waffles he had
begun making out of his home. Woods was once laid off from his job
and needed a source of income to care for his family; he dug into
his passion for cooking that was ignited at a young age by his
father and started a part-time catering business out of his home.
Little did Woods know, only snapping a few photos of his food
creations and posting them to his Facebook would end up leading to
the opportunity of a lifetime.
As luck would have it, after finding the pictures on Facebook,
the NBC network scout contacted Jamawn asking him to audition for
an upcoming reality show titled, “America's Next Great
Restaurant”. Not only did Woods make it onto the show but he
ended up defeating the rest of the contestants and taking home the
top prize. The concept that Woods created for his restaurant is a
healthy take on one of his personal favorites, soul food.
Appropriately, the restaurant is named Soul Daddy and serves
lighter versions of items such as cornbread and collard greens.
Since the airing of the show, three locations of Soul Daddy have
been opened in Los Angeles, New York City, and Minneapolis, with
Woods' hope to expand even bigger.
Jamawn's former plant manager, Tyree Minner, and colleagues
honored him on Thursday, May 19, 2011 at the plant. Woods was given
several gifts and mementos from the plant and Chrysler Group LLC to
celebrate his much deserved success.