Celebrity mom hopes to bring change to food service industry

R&B sensation Usher has been a household name to many throughout his career, and his manager, who happens to be his mother, Jonnetta Patton, hopes her DeKalb business will have similar success. 

Patton owns J’s Kitchen Culinary Incubator, a DeKalb-based company that provides aspiring chefs and caterers commercial kitchen space, equipment, food packaging services and business workshops to help launch their businesses.

Patton said she’s inspired by helping other chefs develop their business plans. 

“My purpose in life is helping others evolve,” Patton said. “That’s what I did for 17 years and I did nothing for Jonnetta. I didn’t realize that until I retired [from entertainment]. One day one of my chefs said I should open a shared kitchen and I looked into the whole process and I wanted to be different.”

Jonnetta Patton created a DeKalb-based culinary incubator to partner local chefs with business professionals. Photo provided

Patton said she wanted something different than a traditional shared kitchen. She wanted to create an incubator. Patton’s dream came to fruition approximately three years ago when she opened her kitchen. 

Patton said most aspiring chefs know how to produce tasty food to grow their company but lack business acumen. 

Topics covered in Patton’s classes include understanding the business, understanding financials, returns on investment, becoming an entrepreneur and funding a business. 

“I wanted to add a business service. I bring the business professionals to them because my mission is to help these chefs establish ownership and a sustainable business,” Patton said. 

Patton recently partnered with HUNGRY, an online marketplace that connects independent chefs to businesses and catering events, to pair chefs from her J’s Kitchen Culinary Incubator with HUNGRY’s customer pipeline. 

Patton said the partnership could be great exposure for chefs in the area. HUNGRY also teamed with Patton’s son Usher to launch in the Atlanta-area market with more than 20 chefs, some of whom cook with J’s Kitchen. 

“My relationship with HUNGRY is something I truly believe in. This is a $25 billion-dollar business that I’m offering to my chefs,” Patton said. “They have a great opportunity to make a successful business and not have to hustle.”

Patton said although she’s a business-minded woman first, she has been working hard in the kitchen as well. Patton said she plans to expand her business in the future and possibly create a food truck company. 

“Can’t you see a J’s Kitchen in the middle of Times Square? Watching all these chefs has made me step my game up in the kitchen,” Patton said, laughing. “I love what I do and I’m living my best life because right now, I’m living it for me.”


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