NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)- It's New Orleans Entrepreneur Week and we found an entrepreneur who's been cooking up something special for years! News with a Twist Reporter Kenny Lopez introduces us to "Jambalaya Girl"!
"Jambalaya Girl" is Kristen Preau's nickname and she's been serving up hot jambalaya ever since she was a little girl.
"I'd be the little girl holding up the bowls for all the baseball players at my brother's baseball games with my Dad serving jambalaya. That's when everyone started to be called that," she said.
Her family recipe is simple. She uses the finest ingredients and they are specially blended by Chef Paul Prudhomme's Magic Seasoning Blends.
"As simple as it comes. Chicken and sausage jambalaya," she said.
This girl's known for her delicious dish, but when out she gets recognized by her signature dangling fork earrings.
"I've only eaten with them once. I was desperate," she jokingly said.
Preau's always been involved in the culinary culture of New Orleans.
"My dad used to manufacture the gas grills that Chef Paul Prudhomme used to make his famous black and red fish recipe. Now we work with Chef Paul's seasoning company," Preau said.
Her business story begins after Hurricane Katrina. That's when she traveled around selling jambalaya to help those affected most by the storm, primarily in New Orleans.
"We came up with a tailgating fundraiser. We raised over 100-thousand dollars just cooking up jambalaya," she said.
With the success of her fundraising drive, she was ready to start the family owned business, "Cook Me Somethin' Mister" with her big brother, Kevin.
"I used to be known as Kevin Preau's little sister," she said.
"But, Now I'm known as Jambalaya Girl's brother," he said.
Over the five year that they've been in business, they've already expanded, making their jambalaya rice mix easier for everyone to enjoy.
"Now we got the party size and the little party size. We've perfected it to where everything's in the bag. All the rice, vegetables, seasoning, all you got to do is cook down the meat and add water," she said.
Her motto is: "Yum, Yum! Come get you some!"
"My goal is to make the Jambalaya Girl like the Wendy's girl. People love my jambalaya here. That's how I know that they'll love it everywhere else around the world. I've always wanted to be an ambassador," she said.
Just like her jambalaya, this girl's personality is full of spice!
"I'm telling you don't be bashful. Seconds are the best compliment that anyone can give me," Preau said.
Sam's club and the U.S. Chamber of commerce recognized Cook Me Somethin' Mister as one of the Top 100 Small Businesses in the country for 2015.
Now she's competing for 25-thousand dollars in the "Big Idea Pitch" competition for New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. The winner will be announced on Friday.
Cook Me Somethin' Mister jambalaya rice mix can be found in all local grocery stores and Sam's Club and on Amazon.
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