Ever wonder what makes some of Little Rock’s food personalities tick? Rock City Eat’s latest series, Food Insider, takes a look at individuals who are helping change the landscape of our city’s culinary scene. Whether they’re in the kitchen, managing a storefront, farming land or running a food truck … we’ll delve into both the professional and personal side of these dynamite people. This week, we have Joann “Jojo” Sims of Cache Restaurant.
Could you give the audience a brief recap of some of the restaurants you’ve been a server?
I’ve worked at Profiles Brasserie inside the Excelsior Hotel from 1992-1995 and the Capital Bar and Grill from 1995-2013. I also did a couple of short stints at El Chico and Dixie Cafe, somewhere in between.
How long have you been working at Cache?
Almost a year.
Who were some of the people you worked with at The Capital Hotel?
I’ve worked with Lee Edwards, Lee Ingold, Lee Richardson, Travis McConnell, Matt Bell, and Matthew Lowman, just to name a few.
Thinking back on those times and some of your earlier memories, in general … how has the Little Rock culinary scene changed from then to now?
We’ve finally made it past fried catfish! Oh Lawd! Little Rock cooks like a bad ass, well-oiled 65 convertible, candy apple red, Ford Mustang.
What is one word you’d use to describe our food scene?
What do you think will be the next food trend to hit Little Rock?
I’d say jalapeño poppers … just kidding! It could be anything. We have a great collection of culinarians so the possibilities are endless.
Without divulging too many of your trade secrets, what are some of the keys to being a great server?
You have to be an entertainer and be able to provide an experience to your guests and to really take pride in what you do. The key is you actually have to give a f#&!Y.
Have you ever waited on any celebrities?
Yes, and I hold the record for breaking the no pictures with celebrities rule.
Would you care to divulge any names?
Yes … Robert Plant, Dave Chappelle, Geraldo Rivera, and Richard Gere. There are more but these guys are my favorites because they were just so freaking nice and didn’t have the diva attitude.
At the end of a long shift, would you say you’re usually more mentally or physically exhausted?
Rumor has it you’re a pretty good cook. What are some of your favorite dishes to prepare?
My dishes are erratic, as I’ve worked with pretty much every genre of cuisine. My friends call it Jojo fusion.
So, you enjoy cooking for others. What is your #1 dish to make when entertaining friends?
Yes I do. Its a trifecta of mango salad, lumpia, and noodles (which can vary depending on what I have in my kitchen).
When you dine out, what places might folks see you at?
I stay away from corporate restaurants. South on Main is one of my favorites.
What are 2-3 hidden gem restaurants you’d recommend to the audience?
Rosalinda Honduran Restaurant, Guadalajara, Changs Thai, Mr. Chens, Capeo, Zaffino’s … I could go on!