That summed up the life of the devout Catholic who had been the eldest of eight, growing up in the Depression and made her mark in life in the kitchen. She died in October of natural causes.
“She loved children. She loved them,” said her daughter, Francine Mayfield-Smith. “And she always showed her love for all of us through food. My mother, even when she stopped working here at the restaurant and doing catering here at the restaurant, her kitchen was still full speed ahead, she was still cooking. she cooked for everyone. she cooked for the priests.”
A monthly distribution of food to area priests was one of her regular activities.
“She loved to cook and that was her way of showing it,” Smith said. “Now, when it came to the restaurant, oh my mom loved the restaurant.”
In 1982, Jocelyn had the courage to leave her position at one of Ocean Springs’ best known restaurants, Trilby’s, and strike out on her own. Even her husband stayed behind just in case she failed, but the clientele followed her to the bright pink house she renovated and turned into a landmark.
“We have customers tell us all the time, they’ve eaten all over the world and they’ve never eaten anywhere better than here.” said Smith.
Smith also added “Mom was a fantastic mom, but also a fantastic business woman. She came from the Depression era, so waste was not part of her equation on running a business. So that was one of the things that she really taught us was how to tighten the belt.”
The restaurant operated for 35 years until it closed in 2013. In 2018, she helped her grandson Patrick take over the restaurant and continue the family tradition.
“It wasn’t easy,” said Patrick. “It was hard for her to let her baby go.”
Jocelyn still kept her nose in the kitchen.
“She would Make sure I’m doing the sauces right, make sure it wasn’t too salty,” he said.
Jocelyn was an active member of St. Alphonsus Catholic Church and an avid bingo player. She was active in the Civil Rights era, with her children helping integrate Coast Catholic schools, and she participated in the Biloxi Wade-Ins.
But in the end it is her love of family and her food that she will be remembered for.
“We’d get jealous of each other, if we found out mom had cooked for one and not the other,” said Smith. “We were like, what about us, we didn’t get none of those red beans.”