Fourteen years ago Jolie Oree-Bailey started a catering company. Growing up, she had learned the art of cooking low country cuisine from her grandparents. It was a skill she maintained for years to come, with friends and family always requesting her delicious dishes for events and gatherings. After a successful career in the corporate world, Oree-Bailey decided it was time to do the thing she loved most: cook. And thus, Low Country Quisine was born. Today her Dallas, Texas-based catering company is one of the most well known catering companies in the area, with high profile clients like U.S. Representative Colin Allred, The Dallas Cowboys and the late great, John Lewis. During the pandemic Oree-Bailey has continued growing her business and has also developed her first product, A Dab A Do Ya! spice seasoning, so her customers can still get a taste of her cooking as COVID-19 continues.
Oree-Bailey’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
I am a black, female entrepreneur and Chef, based in Dallas. I founded the the popular catering company, Low Country Quisine and during COVID-19 I launched an all-purpose seasoning line, A Dab A Do Ya! which is Low Country Quisine’s custom “house seasoning.” It’s my own special blend and anything but ordinary. It includes familiar flavors like salt, cayenne pepper, black pepper, turmeric, garlic, onion powder, paprika, cornstarch and sugar, combined to bring a small taste of ‘low country’ to your favorite foods.
I began noticing that every party or get together I was invited to attend was prefaced with, “Can you make that shrimp salad?” or, “Can you make us macaroni and cheese?” These requests began to make me question whether it was my company that was welcome or the dishes! Throughout my life, I have gravitated toward a culinary career, but also have left my footprint in several corporate successes, including being the Market Manager for a Marketing Promotions Company, the co-owner of a fashion show production company in Atlanta and Dallas and the top performing sales executive for two Fortune 500 Companies.
Even with these accomplishments, however, nothing makes me as happy as creating new recipes and watching others enjoy my food. In 2007 I decided it was time to succumb to my heart’s passion, and thus Low Country Quisine was born. After talking the idea over with my husband, friends and family, my first opportunity to cater a friend’s graduation party came knocking. The success of that event gave me the boost of confidence I needed and confirmation that I was finally where I belonged!
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My definition of success is being able to do what you love, and love what you do everyday.
I quickly mad a house-hold name for myself in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in Texas, and positioned Low Country Quisine as one of the most well-known catering companies throughout the region. In fact, Low Country Quisine has caught the eye of many well-known celebrities and influencers, including nationally known radio personalities, Tom Joyner and Charlamagne Tha God, U.S. representatives Colin Allred and the late great, John Lewis. Low Country Quisine also served as one of the official caterers for Jerry Jones and The Dallas Cowboys for more than two years.
I have faced adversity on my journey however. Like early on when a marketing consultant recommended that I not “put my face on the logo if I wanted the company to grow.” I was highly disappointed by this advice, as they were words that many African American women have faced many times; signifying the stigma that our images, “aren’t good enough” to sell products unless they are presented in a demeaning way, like Aunt Jemima.
[Related: The Enduring Power of Buying Black]
I grew my Black-owned, women-owned business into a million dollar company, which contributed to the economy by providing jobs. Most recently, I launched my first product, an everyday cooking and finishing seasoning, A Dab A Do Ya! And guess what? My face is on the label and it is flying off the shelves in high volume! Customers describe A Dab A Do Ya! as, “Your favorite new seasoning that elevates the flavor of everything you eat.”
My most important role models are my Grandparents. I grew up at the feet of my grandparents, who were excellent cooks. They both worked in the culinary industry for nearly 50 years combined and loved Southern cooking. I spent many summers with them, learning the art of low country cooking – a special style of soul food that derives from the coastal region of South Carolina and Georgia.
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