Jennifer Taylor wasted no time. Within three months of moving to Sherman from Fort Smith, Arkansas, eight years ago, she had started a food and catering business in an empty building that once had housed a nursery and garden supply company.
“I had a business a lot like this in Fort Smith for eight years,” said Taylor. “It was called Creative Kitchen, and we did every thing revolving around entertaining and food.”
She brought that concept with her to Sherman when she opened Bon Appétit Y’all.
“In the gift store, we have gourmet foods, boutique wines, gift items and a little bit of home decor, and then we’re a full-line catering company. We also have to-go-food — salads by the pound and half pound, and three times a week we offer full dinners that people can pick up and take home. We post the menu on the weekends and they can let us know what they would like for the following week.”
Her passion for cooking and food was not a sudden impulse for Taylor.
“I had been catering out of my kitchen for 10 years before I started the Creative Kitchen. I have been catering now for 25 years.”
“I was the baby of four kids,” Taylor recalled, “and I spent a lot of weekends with my grandparents. I was raised helping my grandparents farm and work in their garden, so the idea of farm to table isn’t new for me. My grandmother taught me what to do with those vegetables — how to can them, how to cook them, how to make pie crust from scratch.”
As she got older, Taylor’s interest in all things culinary grew, and she started taking weekly lessons from a neighbor.
“I was cooking for people out of my home when my kids were little, and when we bought Creative Kitchen 16 years ago it was trial by fire. My husband and I, my partner and her husband were in there every night chopping chicken. It was driven by my love of community; my love of bringing people to the table and showing that love to family and community.”
A big part of Bon Appétit Y’all’s catering business is weddings.
“We are so excited about all of the weddings we already have booked for 2019,” Taylor said. “We do not only full line catering for weddings, but also do floral design, event coordination, decor rental, wedding cakes and dessert displays. We will be expanding our staff to handle more weddings in the future.”
As if all of Taylor’s current activities were not enough to occupy her time, she is in the midst of two other business expansions that will, she hopes, bring even more opportunities — further development of an event venue at Old Quail Run Farm, just off US 289 between Sherman and Pottsboro, and a storefront version of Bon Appétit Y’all in downtown Denison.
“Old Quail Run Farm is our farm, where we live, but it is also a destination and a venue where we host farm to table dinners, concert dinners and private parties either in our barn or in the back. It’s a beautiful setting.”
The Denison project is at 309 W. Main in an old building that has housed other restaurants in the past. It too will be called Bon Appétit Y’all, and Taylor said it will be what she calls French bistro meets southern living.
“We’ll have a very European feel to the building and our decor; we will be selling wine and beer by the glass and selling wine by the bottle. All of our wines are unique, ones you can’t find in the grocery store. These are wines I have found in my travels, and that’s what I like to carry.
“The restaurant part of the store will serve lunch everyday and then we will do feature dinners once a month, farm to table dinners. We’ll be open at night for special events in downtown Denison. We have partnered with a number of farmers within 20 miles of here to provide all of our meats and eggs and vegetables.”
At the heart of all of Taylor’s future plans is the idea of community.
“We’re excited about Denison because there’s a lot going on, and we want to give people things to do and places to go here, so they stay here, spend their money here and don’t have to get in the car and go looking for things to do.”