Welcome to our weekly “Celebrating Our People” series which is aimed at highlighting the many talented employees that make up Proof of the Pudding’s teams across the southeast. We hope you enjoy learning more about our hospitality and culinary POPstars!
Catering Director at
Trident Provisions at Duke University
POP: Tell us about YOU!
KAREN JONES: I was born in Newport News, Virginia and raised in Hampton. I am a wife and a mother of three. My passions include racial equity, food and entertaining, and music.
POP: What is the one piece of advice you would share with others at the beginning of their career?
KAREN JONES: Learn everything! From the dish room, to the kitchen, from set up to break down, front of the house and back of the house and the office (the business side)! Learn everything.
POP: What values have shaped your life?
KAREN JONES: It is easy to be fair and to judge on character.
POP: What was your favorite meal as a kid growing up?
KAREN JONES: There were so many. My mother was a wonderful cook. She always made sure that there was color on our plates. Saturday breakfast with homemade biscuits and slab bacon (I am a country girl at heart) and Sunday pot roast, cooked with potatoes, carrots, and onions served with collard greens. We had this meal a lot after church. And, of course, her fried fish for Friday dinner and her fried chicken.
POP: Who has influenced you the most?
KAREN JONES: In my life, I have had many Black women who have taught me to hold my head up proudly, but it was my mother who taught me that I may be judged by the color of my skin but I should never judge a book by its cover. In my career, I have worked with many talented chefs and have learned so much about food, flavor, and presentation.
POP: What is your favorite quote?
KAREN JONES: I have several –
1. “Two wrongs don’t make it right.” – my mother, Ethel Ruffin
2. “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” – Maya Angelou
3. “One cannot think well, love well, if one has not dined well.” – Virginia Woolf
POP: What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
KAREN JONES: My children find this amazing…I met my husband in a band in the 1980s. He played keyboard for the band and I auditioned for lead vocals. He and I have performed many gigs together throughout our entire marriage, and while raising our children.