The student-run online newspaper for Starr's Mill High School

The Prowler

The student-run online newspaper for Starr's Mill High School

The Prowler

The student-run online newspaper for Starr's Mill High School

The Prowler

One guy, one grill, one community

Local pitmaster Gerald Joseph says it is more than just BBQ

Anyone who has been around Starr’s Mill on gameday knows the smell of barbecue on the grill. 

Gerald Joseph has been barbecuing for the Panther community since 2014. He recently barbecued for the Hall of Fame inductees and the softball team.

Gerald Joseph prepares a section of ribs on his grill. He frequently barbecues for others on weekends and over the summer. He has had cooking experience since he was 11 years old. (Courtesy of Gerald Joseph)

Joseph’s experience with cooking started when he was 11 years old. When he was in high school, he worked at Romano’s Macaroni Grill, a restaurant specializing in Italian food, in Maryland. With a passion for cooking, he eventually became the chef’s assistant. 

“The chef was really impressed by my work ethic and how much I really loved cooking,” Joseph said. “I never wanted to stay in one section of the kitchen.”

At age 19, Joseph decided that he wanted to cook professionally. He attended Hotel Culinary and Tourism Institute, a culinary school in Maryland. During his sophomore year in college, he worked at a Michelin star restaurant in Italy called Il San Pietro di Positano, located on the Amalfi coast. 

“I learned a lot about seafood and everything, especially since we were right on the water,” Joseph said. “It was really cool being able to go and do that and then come back to America and apply those techniques to what I did.”

From there, Joseph worked at Macaroni Grill and Applebee’s, and what he calls “mom and pop” restaurants.

Barbecuing was a skill that Joseph picked up on his own. Joseph decided to start barbecuing for others shortly after a welder he knew offered him a grill to purchase because he knew how much Joseph enjoyed cooking. 

At first Joseph did not want a grill, but about six months later he realized how much he loved to barbecue as a hobby outside of work, so he purchased one and began to barbecue for Starr’s Mill.

Gerald Joseph’s logo design. He named it 1 Smokin’ Guy because he prepares all the food by himself. (Courtesy of Gerald Joseph)

“It dawned on me that I love doing stuff like this outside of work and at the time my kids were playing football for Starr’s Mill for the Youth League,” Joseph said.  “It was an opportunity for me to lift up what they did because when we were there they only had hotdogs in a crockpot and a box of chips.”

After purchasing the grill, Joseph kicked off his barbecue business and fell in love with barbecuing for others. When he first started his business, he barbecued for Starr’s Mill every week. Before his business grew, he would barbecue before tailgating and football games, and every home game he would bring food for the coaches. 

“Starr’s Mill was the catalyst to get my name out there, to get my food out there, to be able to grow even more than I imagined,” Joseph said.

After his business grew, he barbecued for other Fayette County schools, including Whitewater High School and Flat Rock Middle School. In addition, he has prepared meals for a wide range of other events at the request of the parents of the kids who attend schools in the system. Some events he has barbecued for are weddings, dinner parties, senior living communities, Christmas parties, and veteran events.

A meal prepared by Gerald Joseph. This platter consists of chicken, beans, sausage, macaroni and cheese, and a pulled pork sandwich. (Courtesy of Gerald Joseph)

“I get calls all the time from people asking me if I have last minute pulled pork or anything for a party,” Joseph said. “I always try to make sure I have something available because the community knows me and I know the community.”

Currently, Joseph works as a kitchen manager at Crabapple Elementary, where he feeds around 150 to 200 children daily. He decided to switch from working at restaurants to working at an elementary school because in the past there were many occasions where he would teach kids culinary arts in Peachtree City and Maryland. 

“They mean everything to me. They give me hugs, we talk, they tell me when things go wrong and we try to help them,” Joseph said. “I try to counsel them as much as I can, so they are really great kids.”

 Although Joseph is not available to barbecue for Starr’s Mill every week anymore due to his full time job, he still barbecues for others on weekends and during the summer.

“To know that I touch the community and the community knows me and my food, that really makes me feel good,” Joseph said. “It inspires me to cook more, cook better, and try to really do the best I can.”

View Comments (1)

Comments (1)

We welcome your comments, but only those comments that are appropriate for a high school publication will be posted. Comments that are derogatory or use inappropriate or vulgar language will not be posted.
All The Prowler Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • S

    SherwinOct 6, 2023 at 1:22 pm

    I know that BBQ is the best