Earning stripes in the kitchen

Many Grambling State University alumni have gone on to become actors, singers, and a few professional athletes. However, one recent graduate has aspirations of becoming big in the culinary arts field. 

Daniel Jackson, who was born in Shreveport but was raised in Pittsburg, Ca., plans to enroll in graduate school at Grambling and open a food truck in the area.  

After growing up in the east bay San Francisco area for about 17 years, Jackson then moved back down south to attend his mother and father’s alma mater continuing the legacy.

“I am proud to say I was apart of the 2013 fall graduating class,” he said. “Now I’m residing in Ruston, gearing up for graduate school this upcoming 2015 spring semester.”  

Jackson has consistently been known as “Jackstonies” on social media, so it was only right I ask what was it’s origin. 

“The name is a play on my actual last name which is ‘Jackson,” he said. “I wanted a name that meant something to me as well as one that related to my food. ‘Jack Stonies’ felt perfect.” 

Jackson’s inspiration for cooking always came from his family, especially his mother and grandmother. Having heavy southern roots, he grew up on “real food” such as greens, hot water cornbread, candied yams, macaroni, cheese, and foods of that nature. 

“Fast food wasn’t something that I took part in until about high school,” he said. “Once I had the freedom of going where I wanted and had the means of purchasing it I took full advantage. That’s when that west coast cuisine really kicked in.” 

Around the age 19, he started reading and learning cooking techniques such as making gravies, skinning and cutting different cuts of meat, baking and sautéing. 

Jackson then began making hotlink sandwiches on Grambling’s campus using a George Foreman grill for friends. In two weeks, he earned $180 for the small business he was running out of his dorm room. 

However, none of his recipes have ever gone past making dishes for friends or coworkers, but this did not  killed his determination. 

Originally, Jackson wanted to open a restaurant. Then that dream turned into a bar & grill, which eventually formed his current aspiration of opening a food truck. 

“I still want a restaurant one day, but I want it to be a spinoff of my food truck,” said Jackson. “I was actually surprised that Monroe just passed a law that allows food trucks within city limits.”

This law was passed on Oct. 28, allowing mobile food vendors to operate in the city. 

Jackson plans to sell burgers and sandwiches on his future food truck. 

The most interesting thing about Jackson is his outlook on cooking. He believe it’s more of an art than just fixing a meal.  

“My idea of cooking is far more than just making something to eat cause you’re hungry,” he said. “Cooking is life. It’s social. It’s laughing. Drinking. Tasting food and tasting more food. It’s sharing. Cooking connects continents. It allows us to venture back into the past as well as shape the future.” 

Jackson can be found on social media via Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr             @JackStonies.