CJ and Cassie do cook for each other; however, there is a clear difference between Cassie cooking to live and feeding a family quickly and efficiently, and CJ’s elaborate, decadent dinners that are elegantly plated for three enthusiastic children. Cassie decided long ago that if CJ decided to take over her cooking with extra spices or sauces and uncovered flames in the kitchen, it was well worth letting him take over…CJ can turn some simple dinner into something fantastic.
Cassie and CJ met in college. Cassie had just moved from Kenya, and her roommate took her to church, where CJ’s father happened to be the youth pastor. They went on one date, which Cassie describes as the “worst date ever,” and then didn’t see each other for the next seven years. In 2010 they ran into each other at Starbucks and ended up sitting over coffee for several hours, a much improved second date. Ten years later, they have three beautiful children and still make each other laugh.
Being in business together has challenges and rewards. We now have two open restaurants, Caci and Rembrandts, with more in the books and on the way. CJ thinks that being successful in business is not only about the partners that allow him to follow his dream, but it’s the daily sacrifice everyone, including the children, make at home too. Whether it’s late nights, early mornings, or long weekend shifts, he wouldn’t be able to do this work without the support of his wife and all that she does to take care of the home and family. CJ said that being a successful man in this business is directly related to having a successful relationship with his wife and his partnership with her.