By Chinta Strausberg
When ABC 7 Chicagoâ€™s 190 North Janet Davies whirled into Josephineâ€™s Cooking, she literally created a traffic jam along the popular South Side 79th Â Street Business Corridor.
The popular talk show host recently came to Josephine Wadeâ€™s newly named Josephineâ€™s Cooking Restaurant, formerly known as Captain Hard Times, to tape her 190 North show. She was met by hundreds of patient and loyal customers who wanted to watch the filming of this 44-year-old historic restaurant.
The show airs 10:35 p.m., Sunday, March 20, 2011, on ABCâ€™s Channel 7. Davies was pleased with the food and ambience of the popular restaurant.
Davies, who was accompanied by her programming producer Rubye Wilson Lane, tasted an array of selected dishes personally cooked by Wade, who had her son, Victor Love, right by her side. Wade is handing over the mantle to her son who is busy these days shadowing her every move.
Wade showed so many dishes to Davies for a minute she didnâ€™t know where to begin, but her love for cooked greens drove her to not only gobble down her own but to turn around and eat some greens from a customerâ€™s plate.
Davies love affair with Josephineâ€™s Cooking was apparent. She strolled into the kitchen where she spotted her favorite dish, peach cobbler. With cameras rolling and while sampling the pie, Davies putÂ â€œMother Wadeâ€™s,â€ as her customers call her, on the spot asking her to reveal her secret recipe.
Wade remained mum prompting Davies to turn her camera on the cook, J.C. William, who told her if she watched him one time, sheâ€™d learn the secret but that was not about to happen.
While filming for her Sunday show, Davies said she especially liked Wadeâ€™s hush puppies made out of black-eyed peas, red and green pepper, onions, seasonings, cornmeal, eggs and buttermilk.
But her favorite dish is still Wadeâ€™s peach apple cobbler. Davies tried to get Wadeâ€™s secret recipe, but neither Wade nor her cook would give it up. Resigned to the fact that no one would relinquish that recipe, Davies, who was in the kitchen, settled for gobbling down some of that pie that was freshly cooked.
In an effort to bring her customers the very best foods at affordable prices, Wade has a wholesale agreement with the Chicago Sweet Connections Bakery, 5569 Northwest Highway in Chicago.
Wade and her son, Victor Love who is taking over the restaurant, provided the customers with music by the Ken Davis Project. Rev. Marvin Alexander, from the Union Baptist Church, gave the invocation.
On hand for the 190 North taping was Sue Tzoumas, whom Wade has known for the past 24-years. She made a huge beautifully decorated cake that sat in the middle of the eloquent designed banquet room.
Wade, who has known Sue Tzoumas for 24-years, has a wholesale agreement with her company, Chicago Sweet Connections Bakery, which makes Wadeâ€™s tasty and professionally decorated pastries.
And, because Wade has a keen eye for beauty and a passion for perfection, she has her linens supplied by Party Linens by DeNormandie, 7780 S. Dante, Chicago. The company has been in business since 1903 and has serviced Wade for the past 20-years. Like an artist, Wade selects various colored linens to match the occasion.
After sampling an array of dishes including a huge fried turkey, Davies sauntered back into the dining area where she bumped into Herman Roberts, the owner of Roberts Motels. Davies laughed as Wade got in Robertsâ€™ face and the two held a mock boxing match to promote their upcoming Friday, April 29, 2011 gumbo cook-off at the restaurant, 436 E. 79th St, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.
Roberts, who said he has been cooking for 50-years and in business for 60-years, swears he will defeat annual winner Josephine Wade. â€œEverybody likes my gumbo,â€ he boasted. However, Wade shot back: â€œJust you wait and see,â€ she quipped her fists balled up ready for a TKO. â€œAll food is good when youâ€™re eating it, but weâ€™ll wait and let the guests seeâ€ who makes the best gumbo.
After the cook-off, a panel of judges and the audience will determine who is the gumbo champion. For the past two-years, Wade has defeated Bishop Larry D. Trotter and CNNâ€™ s Roland Martin. The proceeds go to a charity.
Donâ€™t forget to watch ABC 7â€™s 190 Northâ€™s taping of Josephineâ€™s Cooking Restaurant Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 10:35 p.m.
Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host.
Â Photo: Chinta Strausberg