In his corporate life with Sheraton and Hyatt Hotels Duke worked with master chefs from around the world, learning the essence and nuances of each of their cuisines.
With a strong entrepreneurial drive, Duke returned to his college town and in 1987 opened Spats Café and Speakeasy, a themed “prohibition era” eatery. Inspired by visits to his parents’ western Florida panhandle home, Duke quickly learned that the Cajun/Creole techniques he picked up from native Louisiana chefs were just a fusion of the world’s cuisines he was already very familiar with…Spanish, French, South American, Portuguese, German and Cuban.
It was natural to introduce Spats’ patrons to jambalayas, catfish, voodoo BBQ shrimp and grits; they became immediate favorites and signature dishes. Duke is committed to using responsibly sourced foods and local seasonal offerings.
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