If you have a passion and you follow it, great things will come your way. For Maurice Catlett, a chef at SoDel Concepts, he may not have realized what exactly would make his life so great, but now living and working in Delaware, he is glad he can say his passion has led him to happiness. Catlett’s love of cooking stems from when he was younger—his father was African American and his mother was Korean, so meals were always an interesting blend of cultures. “Food always brought us together,” says Catlett. Because he loved watching his mother cook, Catlett always knew being a chef was what he wanted, so he worked his way up from being a dishwasher to eventually working on the line at SoDel.
SoDel Concepts is a Rehoboth-based restaurant that owes its success to its passionate and innovative chefs. Since his start at SoDel, Catlett has watched them grow from a mere five restaurants to a total of twelve across the state of Delaware. The restaurant has become more than just a place to eat: it’s somewhere to enjoy good food cooked by chefs who really care. In addition, the nonprofit organization SoDel Cares was started to assist the community by providing grants, with the goal of helping children, at-risk adolescents and adults, and the elderly.
“My name’s Maurice Catlett. I’m a corporate chef with SoDel Concepts. You know, growing up my passion’s always been cooking. Started off at the bottom, dish-, you know, dish-washer slash prep, jumped into that and loved it, you know, and grew rapidly, pretty fast with this company.
When I started we had, what, one, two, three, I think we had five restaurants at the time. You know, now we’re at 12 restaurants. It’s amazing. Food is everything, you know? We didn’t have a lot growing up. Food always brought us together.
I have a background of soul food and Asian food. My father was African American, my mother was Korean. Thanksgiving would be turkey, we’d have ribs, collard greens, and then we’d have kimchi. But those were the times, like, I would always remember, like, the best times of, you know, growing up, and family barbecues. And my mother’s a great cook.
I learned a lot just from watching her, and that’s where I got a lot of my passion from. I love the beach area. That’s why I’m here. I’m raising my children here. I love being by the water. I love the people here, the community. I moved down here one summer and never left.”
As SoDel restaurants appear across the state, it goes to show that Delaware houses top-rated places to eat. There is something for everyone, as enjoyment can be found in either the food or through other attractions the state has to offer. Not only does Catlett feel passionately about where he works and the food that he makes, but he also extends this love to the state of Delaware itself. After moving to Delaware one summer, Catlett knew this is where he wanted to stay, as he loves the beach, and he proudly raises his family in this community he has come to love and admire. Delaware is full of people like Catlett who care about what they do, and they all contribute to making Delaware an exceptional place to live and visit.