Fueled by a deep love for food and bringing people together that dates back generations, Curtis Woods Junior was inspired to open his food truck, PJW Creole Cuisine as a way to support his goal of one day opening a restaurant where he could provide musicians a space to perform. “My great, great, great grandfather used to bring spices from Spain to New Orleans, and that’s where my family’s from, New Orleans. So, seasoning’s my specialty; I think I’ve got a gift with that,” said Curtis.
In addition to his day job working in construction, Curtis began an entrepreneurship course through the Chamber of Commerce in Battle Creek, refurbished a used food truck, and studied cooking techniques with his Uncle “Butter Bar” and other community members. “My mother always instilled volunteering in me since I was a kid. So, I volunteered at the Upton church for 10 years, and I cooked with 70-and 80-year-old women. They showed me a lot about cooking and pairing food in different ways.”
Honoring his family and heritage is important for Curtis. He sources his seafood from New Orleans and even named his business, PJW Creole Cuisine, after his mother, Philippa Josephine Wood. “She’s the one who has gotten me through everything, so I’ve got to give back to her,” said Curtis.
The menu features pasta jambalaya, shrimp po-boys, red beans and rice, and New Orleans fries perfectly seasoned and dished out in generous portions. On Monday, Curtis will have a restaurant inspection in Battle Creek and hopes to open the space for business shortly after approval.