By Grady Michael Gaynor
Late December, Smokehouse Catering Company announced that its own Chef Chip Huckaby had traveled to New York to film a pilot episode for Eat This TV Network. For this to air and to film more episodes, they needed help in the form of views, comments and likes on the 24-minute pilot posted to YouTube.
They got it.
After an outpouring of support, Huckaby will soon have his own 13-episode series, with 12 episodes filmed in his own hometown.
“I spent my whole life in this business,” Chef Chip Huckaby explained as he recalled his Greenwood childhood. “I started as a kid standing on a bucket to reach the table working at the bakery with my dad. It was either go to work with Dad and Mom or sit at home with a babysitter. He would give me a $5 bill at first. Then $10. $20. Then a paycheck. I’ve never wanted to do anything else.”
Huckaby said he considers his upbringing his greatest advantage to his success in the industry: learning beside his father, his mentor, in their family bakeries and restaurants. He stayed by his father’s side for many years learning the trade and committing himself to achieving goals of his own in the culinary arts.
After a recent road trip to New York City and back with his brother, on Dec. 16 Huckaby had the pilot episode of his own TV show appear on the Eat This TV Network, youtube.com/watch?v=qahLK9nKYSg. Like Huckaby’s father brought him into the kitchen on a bucket, Huckaby brought his audience members through the screen into the kitchen with him as he shared his special recipes and techniques while he prepared pork belly, collard greens, potatoes and bread pudding.
“It’s nice to watch a pro that doesn’t assume you already know how to get your smoked dishes turn out like his,” wrote one viewer in the comments section of the pilot on YouTube. “Please get him to do more videos.”
Huckaby is a lifelong Southside resident who has been cooking for various restaurants over the course of 30 years until more recently opening the Smokehouse Catering Company with its new store location at 1140 State Road 135 in Greenwood. Huckaby said he is excited to see customers come through the doors in droves especially as he has recently accrued his local cooking celebrity status. The Smokehouse Catering Company has all the good comfort food expected at a barbecue place with pulled pork, smoked sausages, ribs, mash potatoes, mac and cheese, all kinds of fresh greens and other sides. The dining area is decorated with all kinds of memorabilia owner Keith Johnson hopes to give diners that southern comfort feel. It was eight years ago that Johnson started a food truck that eventually turned into Johnson’s BBQ Shack and in 2018 he branched off into the catering side of things.
“We wanted a little bit of that Texas feel. This is the Southside, this is Greenwood. … We want to be able to eat well. We want to be able to hang out, be cozy and comfy, stay for as long or as little as we want. Sneak in. Sneak out. Bring the whole family.”
Expectations are high for the TV series after its warm reception. Comments online point out Chef’s passion, how well he explains things for a beginner cook, his warm personality and his raspy voice many might associate with a man who spends a lot of time around a barbecue pit.
For more information check out their website at smokehousecateringco.com