Our Founders

A Family of Faith

The humble beginnings of a miraculous opening, and the unprecedented success of The Jambalaya Shoppe is the basis of this testimony to just how one family’s faith in God changed their lives forever.

It was the early 1990s, Stefan and Cheryl Fontenot were struggling to raise five boys in a declining economy that led to the loss of a business venture and their life savings. The family was faced with a struggle they didn’t know how to handle.

Working multiple jobs to make ends meet, the challenges seemed never-ending. Cheryl was worn out and utterly discouraged. Driving home one day, she took a wrong turn and ended up on a road that was unfamiliar to her. Panic set in, and she began to pray. Then, she heard a distinct external voice tell her to, “Turn around.” As she found her way back home, Cheryl knew she couldn’t continue to clean houses anymore and decided to give her notice. Early the next morning, before going to the house she was cleaning that day, she had a vision of people lined up at a local eatery for a good home cooked meal. It was that moment that The Jambalaya Shoppe was born.

The Fontenots had no food service experience and had never cooked jambalaya in anything larger than a pot on top the kitchen stove. Yet Cheryl trusted this was the Lord’s plan, so she immediately set out to find a vacant business location in their hometown of Gonzales, LA. Within two weeks, the first Jambalaya Shoppe was up and running and they never looked back. While there were many continued struggles ahead and many lessons to be learned, the Lord had given Cheryl His word and a prayer, and she knew He was faithful to keep it.

“If God can take a family with no culinary training and use them to create a thriving restaurant, there’s nothing He can’t and won’t do for you. Our continued success is because we treat our customers like family, and we believe in giving back to the communities we serve. We believe in the American dream and know that with a little hard work and faith anyone can succeed. God bless you all!”

Cheryl Fontenot,
Founder, The Jambalaya Shoppe