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A self-trained chef & serial entrepreneur builds an international food business in Georgia



Walter Brooks Jr.
Owner & Operator of Brooksmade Gourmet
Georgia, USA


I’m excited invite you to my conversation with Walter Brooks Jr. Walter is a serial entrepreneur and the owner and operator of Brooksmade Gourmet Foods - a global food company specializing in clean-label, locally sourced sauces & rubs made in Georgia.


Walter is deeply passionate about giving back to the next generation and credits mentorship as a vital component of his success. In addition to running his business, he mentors the next generation of entrepreneurs and works closely with organizations such as 100 Black Men of America.


Walter grew up in a large family in South Central Los Angeles. As one of nine kids, money was tight and he didn’t always know where his next meal would come from. Battling food insecurity in his youth made him value good food and instilled a deep passion for cooking when he got older.


Walter left Los Angeles to attend hospitality school in Georgia as a young adult. He spent many years doing various service jobs - working in hotels, as a security guard, and as a car repairman. Along the way, people recognized Walter's natural talent and drive they continually encouraged him to strive for more and build something of his own.


Walter first built a business in auto repairs and detailing. His entrepreneurial venture grew quickly because he realized early on that being reliable and service focused were key components of any successful business. His business expanded because of the trust-based relationships he built with his customers and his constant focus to be of value/help to others.


A surprise medical emergency and surgery gave Walter the time and space outside of work to nurture his love of cooking. He took time to read and immerse himself in the culinary arts. After he recovered, he decided to pivot and open up a catering business. He used the relationships he had built over the years to find success in this new industry.


He used his cooking to give back to his community by contributing to food drives, community events and cooking for the homeless. It meant so much to him to be in a position to give back after coming from a background of food insecurity. Eventually, Walter opened up a BBQ restaurant. However, once Covid hit, he decided to pivot once again, and sold the restaurant, choosing to focus on building out his line of BBQ focused sauces and rubs.



At the end of the day Walter believes there are a lot of powerful things in the universe that we take for granted. We take for granted how small we are in the grand scheme of things, and how vital it is to do something that matters to you in life. His motto is:” Be humble, appreciate the magnitude of the world, and choose to be positive.”


He insists that you do not have to allow the world to marginalize you just because of your circumstances. In his words: “Just because I wasn't better off, that doesn’t mean I was less than.”

In our conversation we speak about what hurdles he had to overcome to believe in himself, the valuable guidance he received along his path, and how he defied expectations. Walter offers some really powerful advice and thoughts on ways to avoid self-defeating thoughts and behaviors. Walter is mentor to many, and credits his own success to mentorship. I hope you find value in his words, perspective, and generous spirit.


This is a story about the power of mentorship, humility, and how generosity can lead to prosperity.


LINKS
Brooksmade Gourmet
Small Business Development Council
100 Black Men of America