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Support for Black-owned business a sign of hope for owner of Miss Oddette's Creole Kitchen in Paso Robles

Posted at 1:28 PM, Jun 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-10 19:13:49-04

Along with the nationwide rally cry to reform police departments, many people are taking to social media to promote local Black-owned businesses like Miss Oddette's Creole Kitchen in Paso Robles.

From her small home kitchen in Paso Robles, Oddette Augustus creates her signature mac and cheese.

"My philosophy about mac and cheese is when you add a third ingredient, you now have a casserole," Augustus, the owners of Miss Oddette's Creole Kitchen, said.

The dish is a taste of her family history. Augustus' grandparents brought Louisiana Creole to California in the 1930s.

Augustus lived with her grandparents in Stockton and remembers cooking as a staple of her childhood.

"Basically in the kitchen with my grandmother, that's what I remember growing up," Augustus said.

Augustus later made a name for herself in Paso Robles, serving her special recipe BBQ and mac and cheese to an overwhelmingly White community.

Just last week, news of George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police spurred protests across San Luis Obispo County.

Amid the anger and outrage was a call to support black businesses like Miss Oddette's Creole Kitchen. On Saturday, the community turned out in droves to show support for Augustus.

"This last weekend, I was like oh my God, I didn't even know support like this existed, at least for me," Augustus said.

Augustus sold out Saturday of 90 servings of mac and cheese in 30 minutes, nearly triple the sales she usually sees in three hours.

"I'm drowning in gratitude right now," Augustus said.

But amid nationwide unrest over the unequal treatment of Black people, that feeling of gratitude is complicated for Augustus.

"I went to my mom and I said, mama, I almost feel guilty," Augustus said. "She said don't you dare. Because other people are struggling, which I did for a long long time. It's like I'm able to take a breath or even exhale, I don't have to hold my breath, I can exhale. But there's other people that can't."

She remembers how her grandparents, who lived through the segregation era in the deep south, believed that to flaunt success as a Black American was to risk losing it all.

"When you pulled yourself up by your bootstraps when you didn't have boots, and you create towns and wealth, they bomb it and take it away," Augustus said. "My grandparents didn't allow us to let people know we had anything because my grandfather had the fear that it would be taken away. Coming from the south, it happened so much. So you're raised with that don't flaunt."

Decades later, Augustus wants to change not only her own thinking on Black success but the perspective of other Black business owners and professionals.

"One thing Black people have to do is be comfortable in success because it's always so fleeting and doesn't always last and that's, that's our history," Augustus said.

Augustus knows we can't change the past but she's hopeful for the future.

"I want to know I'm good, I want to revel, I want to wallow in this and not have any guilt or apprehension," Augustus said. "I was wanting this 17 years ago, but you know, it's never too late."

Augustus knows we can't change the past but she's hopeful for the future.

Check her Facebook page here for details about future events.