From radio personality to celebrity chef
To borrow from Irene Cara’s 1980s hit “What a Feeling,” Dr. Fredrick Jacobs is someone who embodies the phrase “take your passion and make it happen.” Fueled by a lifetime of culinary influences ranging from moments as a young boy in the kitchen with his mother and grandmother to traveling the world to learn from the best chefs, Dr. Jacobs (or Dr. J as he is fondly known) founded and spearheaded the nation’s “first soul food restaurant chain”, Celebrity’s Soul Food. The quality casual concept serves up innovative soul food paired with exceptional customer service to make each guest feel like a star.
Dr. J’s guiding star is his spiritual beliefs, family, and lifelong commitment to helping others. As a man of faith, he instills in his corporate team the mantra: “To be good, we must do good.”
Team members are strongly encouraged to give back to the communities they serve, whether through time, products, or services. They support local charities and organizations, particularly in families, homelessness, and food insecurity. Dr. J also lends his support and wisdom to others through his national TV and radio show, “Dr. J The Counselor” on KJLH 102.3 and KJLH TV. Through his entertainment business experience as an on-air and tv personality, Dr. J has found a way to meld a beloved cuisine with Celebrity’s.
Food for the Soul
Before developing his franchise business, Celebrity’s Soul Food, Dr. J leveraged his passion for food toward an executive catering service. His client list included notable celebrities in the TV, film and music industries like Steve Harvey, Kirk Franklin, Fantasia, SWV, Stoney Jackson, Monica, Warren G, Flex Alexander, Shanice Wilson, Ashanti, and more. From this success, Celebrity’s Soul Food, the restaurant concept was born.
Celebrity’s recipe is simple but impactful: serve up high-quality food, and treat every guest like a VIP.
Dr. J launched this venture with his wife and business partner, Taja Jacobs. Throughout their marriage, they have teamed up on several business opportunities ranging from entertainment to restaurant concepts.
“We wanted to translate what we did in catering to a quality casual restaurant so that we could share what we love with a broader audience. We took soul food, which has previously been considered a special occasion food, and made it more accessible,” he said. “We invite guests to be adventurous with us. We feature legendary recipes that honor soul food’s essence, but we also want to challenge guests to explore non-traditional combinations. Our belief is that soul food transcends cultures, that it can bring people together from various walks of life and tastes. We cater to meat lovers, vegetarians, vegans, and even flexitarians,” he added.
2020 was a challenging year for many around the world due to the Coronavirus, however, Dr. J found that there were still opportunities to pursue and encouraged others to do the same.
“During the pandemic, I’ve never been more busy growing my business. Some people may have turned inward during these uncertain times, but I chose to let it drive my passions even further,” he said.
He sought out global leaders in the franchise and entrepreneurial development, United Franchise Group, to help take Celebrity’s to the next level. With the support of United Franchise Group, the brand set a rollout goal of 200 new restaurants. Celebrity’s has more than 40 franchisees signed on to join their expansion efforts across North America and more than 30 units under development.
The organization also recently opened up a second corporate office in Florida. The original headquarters is based in California. The company now has coast-to-coast reach and resources for their teams.
“These have been exciting times for my company. By opening up our concept for others to join in our growth, we’re enabling others to take that leap to become their bosses or to pursue additional endeavors that will allow them to grow themselves and their businesses. Plus, we’re making history as the first national soul food chain in the United States,” he added.
Dr. J prides himself on a strong work ethic. His outlook on life has been a driving force throughout his career and passions and has enabled him to help others along the way.