Clay Caldwell didn’t always know that he wanted to be a chef. Even though he grew up in a house where “love” was synonymous with good food; he was going to be a preacher. The Southern man pursued this dream until he dropped out of theology school, saying his opinions were too strong for the profession. His next stop was in the fashion industry, which is no surprise if you noticed the snakeskin boots he was wearing as he shared his story Dec. 10. But Caldwell’s father saw right through his distractions. “You’re going to be a chef; I see a gift in you,” he told him. Soon, the future-owner of Loveland’s Mo’ Betta Gumbo was at culinary school, putting his family’s passion for food into practice. Caldwell remembers a childhood full of meals made from scratch in a bustling kitchen. Today, he continues his family traditions in his own restaurant. There’s nothing fancy about it, but Mo’ Betta Gumbo serves food the way Caldwell’s mom, grandma and great-grandma prepared it. “I remember the laughter. I remember the shrimp and grits we had every Christmas Eve. There was such a connection to food and making people happy,” he said.
From the event: Foodie tales