Terre Haute Living January/February 2019 - Page 29

KELLY FORD CO-OWNER, J. FORD’S BLACK ANGUS H ow did you start working in the food space? While attending Indiana State University, I worked in restaurants and catering. After college I continued with restaurant management/ corporate training and then ended up working in sales for 17 years in Indianap- olis. In 2007, my husband, Jeff, had the idea of owning a restaurant and since I had a stable, legitimate job we knew we could take the risk. We bought the space (the former location at 502 S. 3rd Street). The restaurant would be completely chef-owned. Fail or succeed; we were going to do it our way. After three years in business, we were in a place where I could quit my job in Indianapolis and join the restaurants full time. What do you enjoy about your work? I enjoy the family atmosphere the most; whether that’s with employees or the customers and regulars that we see so often. I really can’t imagine doing any- thing else. And drinking wine for research isn’t too bad either! Is it easy or hard to be in the food industry in Terre Haute? I was thinking recently what other towns of this size in Indiana can you boast a great sushi restaurant, two steakhouses (one that is chef owned) local BBQ place restaurant (Rick’s Smokehouse), local homemade Italian (Piloni’s), local down- town generational restaurant (Saratoga). I don’t know if there’s another place like this community. Who has been a strong role model for you with respect to your work in food? We’re really lucky to have some great people in the community that are both friends and mentors. Andy and Cyndi Patrick of Andrews of the Westbrook, and George and Cathy Azar are a great example of a couple that works and plays together. They really do it right. The Baeslers truly inspire me, as a local business that does so much for the local community. What is your favorite food? Well, with a chef-husband I’d have to say anything that Jeff makes! Because of my wine training it might be easier for me to name one of my favorite wines: Haute Pierre 2007 Chateauneuf-du-Pape (House of the Pope) Delas. Is it easy or hard to be in the food industry in Terre Haute? I think the easy part and the hard part are the same: the competition. It is easy with a lot of competition because that means there are a lot of opportunities to find jobs, but difficult at the same time to stay relevant in a competitive environment. BAKER, BAESLER’S MARKET Finding a niche will make it easy overall. Who has been a strong role model for you with respect to your work in food? ow did you start working in the food space? Marla Flowers has been a mentor to me for many years. She was the first boss My entire professional life has been spent in the food who, I felt, really believed in me and pushed me out of my comfort zone. She saw the space, which I also think of as the hospitality industry. I’ve potential in me that I didn’t know I had, and helped me realize my true passion. always loved the idea of using food as a creative outlet and What is your favorite food? a form of self-expression. It’s so much fun to take a few ingredients I obviously love sweets and dessert. If I had to pick one dessert though, it would be lemon cheesecake. and transform them into something special for others to enjoy. SUSAN ROYCE H Snuggle up & Watch it snow Trent Brown Ray Brazelton Becky Crawford www.pellaofterrehaute.com 2026 S. 3rd St., Suite A Terre Haute, IN 812-234-0729 tribstar.com/terrehauteliving January/February 2019 • Terre Haute Living 29