I’m Southern Indiana born and raised and a proud Bosse graduate! I headed to Southern Illinois University for elementary ed but realized quickly that my dyslexia was a major roadblock. At SIU, I met my soon-to-be wife, Kathy, and she gave me the confidence to look for a job. Although I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, I did know I loved cooking with my grandmothers and my mom and barbecuing with my dad. So I thought “I’ll get a job at this BBQ restaurant.” I chose wisely. The restaurant was 17th Street Bar and Grill and the owner was Mike Mills AKA “The Legend” in the world of BBQ and food. Mike was a three-time World Grand Champion and a four-time Grand Champion at Memphis in May, the Super Bowl of Swine. Mike realized I enjoyed cooking and I had a passion for BBQ. He quickly became my mentor as I moved up the ladder at 17th Street and learned that pitmaster was the job I truly enjoyed. There’s nothing like smelling like barbecue every day. I traveled with Mike to Las Vegas, San Diego, and Greensboro, North Carolina as I learned about the regional styles of BBQ. In a single weekend, we fed 10,000 hungry New Yorkers at the Big Apple Block Party. Through Mike, I found my passion!
By now, we already had our daughter, Kylie, and when our son, William was born, we realized it was time to head back to Evansville to be with family. Our son, Luke, soon joined us. Although I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, I knew I wanted to learn more about meat. Working at Dewig Meats seemed like a good idea so I got a job there as a butcher. Soon, the Dewigs asked me if I wanted to get catering going for them but I knew I wanted to get back into the world of feeding people so I told them I’d like to start my own catering business. The Dewigs really helped me get started and, by early 2020, Pappa Bear’s was out on the road. And so was a pandemic. When it was safe to go out again, we started catering big (up to 3000!) and small events and took out the food truck as often as we could.
I love what I do and people love the food we serve. Good food. High quality. Friendly staff. That’s what Pappa Bear’s catering will always be about!