Jul 25, 2014
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Charlotte Nelson: The Life of a Chef Remembered

'Her passion for food never allowed her to settle and accept "good enough."

Charlotte Nelson: The Life of a Chef Remembered

Editor's note: Charlotte Nelson, the head chef at Fox. Bros. Bar-B-Q, died last week following her fight with stage 4 inflammatory breast cancer. One of her colleagues wrote the following tribute to let the greater East Atlanta Patch community know about her and what she meant to all who knew her and her love of cooking.

by Bill Schoonmaker

CANDLER PARK — She was always so damn proud of what was coming out of those smokers. She was always looking for a way to make a great product better, but Charlotte's true passion was making sausage. It was almost a love-hate relationship because what we all thought was outstanding, she always tried going a little further. I remember fishing in Islamorada last April and getting a text from her about a batch of jalapeño cheddar sausage that she was especially proud of and teasing me that I wouldn't get a taste.

Her passion for food never allowed her to settle and accept "good enough." She would work a 12-hour shift and then she and I could sit at the bar drinking margaritas — she always loved margaritas — and talk another four hours about what item we were going to work on next.

She was always happy and always trying to figure out how to make her food better.

We shut down our stores Wednesday night and had a "family" memorial at our Big Tex Decatur location with her parents, brother, all store staffs and friends and industry folk from across the city. Charlotte's mom spoke for just a minute and there was not a dry eye.

Regarding her legacy, we want to turn SupportCharlottesWeb into an annual event. Whether that is continued support to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation or we look to sponsoring someone who is battling breast cancer that insurance wont help. It is something we will continue to develop over time.

All that said, our family is committed to keeping her legacy alive to not only raising awareness but make a difference to those suffering from this terrible disease.

The funeral will actually be held in Fresno, Calif. on Monday, Feb. 18. Her family flew out Feb. 14 with Charlotte.

We are making arrangements for the family to fly back in for the benefit on Feb. 26.

Mr. Schoonmaker is vice president of operations for Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, Big Tex Decatur and Smith's Olde Bar.

If you go: A fundraiser, Charlotte’s Web…Cancer Touches Us All, is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Feb 26 at the SweetWater Brewery, 195 Ottley Drive NE. Tickets are $100 and proceeds will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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