We had the good fortune of connecting with Maurice Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maurice, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Great question! While on vacation, in Hawaii, my wife asked me what I would do if money wasn’t an issue. I’ve always been ambitious, artistic, and up for a challenge. Naturally I chose a path of entrepreneurship and creative expression through music and food. I have always wanted to own my own restaurants so I began my journey of doing just that, but on my own terms!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My restaurant, Cafe Neo Soul™️, began as a Pop Up in August of 2020 while still enrolled in culinary school at the International Culinary Center in SoHo, Manhattan, NYC. As Chef Of The Culture™️, I am blending comfort foods of the African Diaspora with traditional French culinary techniques, inspired by the genre of Neo Soul music. With the mentorship of other chefs, creatives, and hospitality professionals I am growing my business faster than I ever could have imagined. Within first few months of starting my business, I realized I needed to dedicate more attention to the business side of things. I enrolled into the restaurant management and entrepreneurship program at the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan, NYC. As I prepare to graduate this week, I’ve learned to ask questions, never stop being curious, and take care of your team. I want the world to know that pursing your passions will not be easy but the joy of doing what you love will make it worthwhile!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Every weekend should be filled with great food, good music and warm vibes. We would hit all the local food trucks to see what’s new and interesting. I’m a huge fan of Neo Soul music, so we would be wherever the live music is. I’m an avid reader and tea/coffee lover so a great bookstore would be a part of the weekend. Finally, we would find a dope spot in nature and relax while enjoying the warm weather.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My late Grandmother, Ms Nellie Gaskins
Other: Business IG: @thecafeneosoul