Theaudric Davis has split his time between the food and film industries. He appears in commercials and auditions for film and TV roles, and he’s also catered for film sets. Recently, he’s been focusing on developing his culinary business, Real Clever Cuisine, and its signature use of matcha. In July, he participated in the Vegan 2 the Soul Festival, and this weekend, he’ll be offering vegan and nonvegan dishes at Satchmo SummerFest. For more about Davis and his food business, see @realclevercuisine_ on Instagram or his website flavorithms.com.
Gambit: How did you get interested in cooking?
Theaudric Davis: My mom is the best chef in my family. Food has always been in the background of what I was doing. I got into restaurants when I was 14. I worked at Algiers Landing. That’s where my love for cooking and presentation sprouted. I did some serving with Black Tie Catering. I was a chef at Doctors Hospital of Jefferson. I got into Jazz Fest in the 1990s with a friend’s aunt. My best friend’s mom had a booth in Congo Square. She used to serve vegetarian fried rice. She also did peanut soup and carrot cake.
I am an aspiring comedian and actor. I worked in the film industry for the past 17 years, prior to me getting back into cooking. I run my catering company now.
I started Real Clever Catering in 2013. I was doing Real Clever film foods as a way to provide meals on film and TV sets, because they have to provide food in a timely manner or they get penalties from the unions. My second company turned into Real Clever Cuisine. I started getting catering gigs doing big weddings and parties here and in places like Orlando.
Gambit: What kind of dishes do you do at festivals?
Davis: I got into the Fried Chicken Festival in 2018. I had a lot of success, and it grew on me. In 2019, I got into Essence. I just did French Quarter Festival and I was the caterer for Chevron while I also had a booth. I have been doing every festival that I can.
(At the Fried Chicken Festival) I did green tea gumbo with matcha file, and I did matcha jerk chicken. That’s my edge. I use matcha green tea. I experimented at home and invested in creating these flavors. Green tea is the driver of all these flavors. Green tea is like the key to your taste buds. It’s the most savory unit next to Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. It’s almost like natural umami.
I started with the green tea chicken at home. My first dish that I tried publicly was the Parmigiano-Reggiano and green tea on the jerk, so it’s like a char-broiled jerk. When you eat it, it’s almost like your mouth explodes.
At the vegan festival, most of the people getting traction were people who had good food that imitated meat. But I am moving away from the trendy vegan approach. Everything is a cauliflower “chicken.” I want to make regular vegan dishes. I do Brussels Voorhees, because people hate Brussels sprouts, but they’re killer. They’re killer Brussels sprouts. It’s sweet potatoes or Yukon golds with Brussels sprouts and I lace it with signature spices and hit it with fig and truffle glaze, and people go crazy for it. We put French onions on it as well. If it’s not a vegan version, we put Parmigiano-Reggiano on it as well.
At Satchmo Fest, I am doing a play on a fattoush salad. I turned it into a fattoush pasta salad. We have the greens mixed with cavatappi pasta. That’s one of my vegan options. I also am doing green tea jerk chicken with Lamborghini fried rice. Lamborghini fried rice is basically boudin turned into fried rice. Lamborghini is a play on lamb, boar, which is wild pork, and New Guinea hen. All that is in the boudin. To make it for the festival, so everybody can have it, I take away the pork and the chicken and I use lamb and turkey. I am also doing the crème bruleches, which is crme brulee, tres leches and bread pudding all in one.
Gambit: How are you building your business?
Davis: I want to open up a brick and mortar. But I want to do it in the right way at the right time in the right spot.
I started Flavorithms because I want to create an online app and subscription-based spice service. It’ll be all my signature spices throughout the year and at a discounted cost. If you’re going to cook an Indonesian dish, you can go online and put the amount of people you’re serving and the dish. (The site) will be a repository for recipes. People can upload their recipes. The algorithm will tell you how much spice you need for the dish. You won’t have a lot of (leftover) masala or turmeric if you don’t usually use that. Or you can get a quarterly spice subscription or get spices for the holidays.
I am getting ready to launch a barbecue sauce that goes on the jerk chicken. I have the green tea umami spice. I have passion berry lemonade with sage. I am going to do green tea gumbo. I already sell these as hand-crafted products. I am talking to cold packers about how to put those products on big box store shelves.
The first Satchmo festival was held in 2001.