ChefGoneMad original seasoning blends were created by New Orleans native and entrepreneur, Chef Derek Robinson Jr. The brand was created as a result of Chef Derek’s conscious awareness of the health disparities amongst the Greater New Orleans region, thus resulting in two salt-free seasoning blends, “Smoked Garlic & Herb” and “Chicken & Fish”. The products quickly became a popular novelty with locals and have since thrived as a nationwide success. Believing in his product and listening to the positive feedback of his consumers, Chef Derek expanded his product by launching an “all-purpose, everyday” seasoning. “Cajun Nola”, which became the signature blend of the brand representing the heritage and attraction of his hometown. Originally being sold exclusively online, ChefGoneMad seasonings have now been shelved at numerous grocery stores along the U.S. Gulf Coast!
Chef Derek took a break from the kitchen to share with me some of his favorite meal preps and how he got started!
What’s the one ingredient you can’t live without?
Garlic because it adds flavor to everything!
What is your go-to meal when you’re low on time?
My go-to meal for myself would have to be a full breakfast (Grits and cheese, eggs, smoked sausage or bacon). If I am cooking for a client I would have to say my Cajun Nola Pasta, which is a creamy New Orleans pasta filled with shrimp and andouille sausage!
What sparked your interest in creating Salt-Free Seasoning?
My community! My race! My cultural! Over 69% of my city suffers from high blood pressure. My focus is to create a Change with flavor. People with high blood pressure shouldn’t have to stop enjoying their favorite foods due to salt intake.
How did you come up with the name for your brand?
MadChef is a pitch on Mad Scientist, I experiment until I find greatness no matter how many times I fail.
What style of dishes can food lovers find at your restaurant in New Orleans?
Cajun American Cuisines
What’s you’re secret to creating a great Steak?
What’s a steak without ChefGoneMad Cajun Nola!
What do you enjoy most about the food experience gained in New Orleans?
Everything! It’s no food in the world comparable to New Orleans in my opinion. How we cook and serve our food is a part of our culture. People travel from all around the world just to experience our culture and our food. We have a distinctive way of cooking and preparing our food.
If you could prepare a dish for any famous Chef in the world, who would it be?
(Laughs). It would have to be Martha Stewart. She seems to be very cool and she is a veteran in all of this.
What’s next for you this year?
I am extending my brand nationwide. My focus is to have my seasoning in stores nationwide. When it comes to the restaurant, I know that we are growing at a tremendous rate. We will be focusing on working more in the community as well as with key professionals. We have a lot of big things coming up this year – so definitely be on the lookout!
What upcoming events do you have?
We have a private event coming up in Atlanta. I will be bringing NOLA to Atlanta for a one to two-day event. We are also thinking about doing something similar in another city and if not then doing partnerships with various lounges/restaurants for special events.
For more on Chef Derek Robinson, click here!
Keep up with Chef Derek Robinson on Instagram!
All images by Shot By Erv