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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Among a virtual sea of Miami police officers and school children, a special recognition award was given to a well known Miami chef.
“Call me chef if your hungry, Wilkinson if you want to give me a check, and Ken if you want to have a drink,” said Wilkinson Sejour, better known as Chef Creole who serves up delicious Haitian creations.
CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo featured recently featured one of his restaurants in her Taste of the Town segments.
On Wednesday, Wilkinson was honored by the police, not for what he did at one of his restaurants but for what he did at Miami International Airport
“Two thousand, 300, and 18 meals and it was done over the course of nine days,” he said.
During the record long 34 day government shutdown, Wilkinson handed out free meals to TSA and other furloughed federal workers
After 25 years in business, it was a sacrifice that was both financial and personal for him.
“Put yourself in their position, I’m a very prideful person, I wouldn’t want to ask anybody for anything. But if someone was to step up and say ‘hey, I don’t need to know your personal business but I know you’re going through some hard times’,” he said.
Wilkinson said he couldn’t have done it without the help of the donations that poured in and his own ability to pull from vast resources to feed thousands.
“Business is always gonna be okay, you gonna always figure out to make three bucks from a dollar, but I think what is most important is taking care of peoples basic needs,” he said.
Wilkinson said while he’ll tout his tasty creations any day, what he really savors at the moment is feeling appreciated
“Whenever there’s an opportunity for people to say thank you for all that you do because it’s, you know, I tell people, it’s business until it’s get personal and something like this is very personal for me.”