I first met “Chef Gary” Williams as I was writing a preview of the inaugural Memphis Black Restaurant Week back in 2016. Though I did not know him well, I had to remind myself of that fact – from the first time I met him, he treated me like an old friend.
On that first visit to DeJaVu, the restaurant he owned on Main Street, he was busier than usual, what with all the traffic coming in for MBRW. But he still made sure to talk with me, to make sure I got good photos and most importantly, to make sure I ate. That night, it was some of his delicious catfish, topped with a cream sauce. There were other treats too. It was way too much food.
Gary died Wednesday night. I later learned he had been fighting some serious health issues since our meeting. But I never forgot his smile, his easy way of dealing with people.
I went searching for a few clips of him just being Chef Gary.