Lynn Jones, the Creole Diva, has always had the dream of sharing her way of Creole cooking. Her friends and family always told her she should, but it was not until she had that one special person tell her that she could do it that the light bulb went off. A homeless man that she regularly bought the Contributor from gave her a zucchini one day as a thank you. Lynn took that zucchini home, made some of her small loaves, and brought one back to him. He went crazy over it, and began to give her things he'd get from community gardens, or harvest from trees, like crab apples, and Lynn would make one of her creations and bring it back to him. His was the voice that Lynn deeply heard say, "YOU CAN DO IT!"
Funny enough, Lynn had a business account open for years, dreaming that one day she would open a restaurant. Many times, she almost closed it, but something always stopped her. Hearing she could do it from her friend selling the contributor in 2012 gave her a reason to finally use that business account.
When Lynn was trying to come up with a name for her business, her nickname from her days of major-brand merchandising came back up- 'The Diva.' Adding Creole the that nickname, to show what it was she wanted to give to everyone, was the perfect fit. The Creole Diva is insistant on seasonal, fresh ingredients, with no additives or preservatives ever. All of her ingredients, other than dry rice and beans, are from local farmers that are part of the markets she sells at. When she prepares her seasonings, jams, jellies, or pickles, she does it slowly, just like when she cooks for herself. She does it with love and care, and if it's not just right, she won't serve it. She wants people to have the amazing Creole food that she eats herself at home. The Creole Diva has a variety of offerings since she works with seasonal produce, and a few standards that you can always find at her booth. Her dried red beans and rice have the perfect Creole seasoning, and her jambalaya dry mix is always there as well. Her saught after Sweet Potato-Orange Pecan Bread is a weekly favorite for many, and anyone that tries it says it is unlike anything they've ever had.
Right now, Lynn has mild and spicy dill pickles going, bread and butter pickles started, and HOT Jamaican jerk pickles in the works. There is some cool and refreshing cucumber mint jelly right now while the cucumbers are in season. The Diva is excited to see the heirloom tomatoes starting to come out, since they are just so sweet and versatile. One of her signature Creole Diva creations is her smoky tomato Tandoori Jam that makes anything you put it on taste amazing.
Lynn loves serving up her versatile creations at the market, and hopes to one day soon start a home delivery of cooked meals. She has big dreams, still, and says age is just a number, and to never give up. Her biggest inspiration is Leah Chase, a 93 year old woman in New Orleans that is still in the kitchen at her New Orleans restaurant, Dooky Chase, cooking everyday. What a great inspiration to have, and how fortunate are we to have The Creole Diva living in Nashville to serve us the food she cooked herself in New Orleans, until the day before the 2005 flood, when she left with only the clothes on her back.
Lynn's favorite part of the Richland Park Farmer's Market is the people. She just loves meeting everyone and talking about food or anything, really. She loves to spend time sharing the creative ways to use The Creile Diva's products and loves to hear back from shoppers after they've tried them. Her best and most frequent comment from shoppers is that they can taste the love in her food, and that is exactly why The Diva does what she does.
The Creole Diva is at the Richland Park Farmer's Market every Saturday through December, from 9:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
Come taste the love!