Mykelti Williamson, known best for his role as “Bubba” in the Academy Award-Winning Forrest Gump, is currently in Vancouver filming a movie for the Lifetime network. I had the chance to catch up with him to talk a bit about his current project, and a lot about his new venture into the spice business.
“I love Vancouver, it’s a very pretty city to me,” Williamson told me while on a lunch break on set. “The people are always nice and I’ve been coming here thirty years and I’ve only met one rude person — in thirty years.”
His recent television credits include playing Brian Hastings, head of CTU in 24 and Ellstin Limehouse in Justified. However even before television, and film (he also had roles in Con Air, Waiting to Exhale, and more) and even before Forrest Gump, he loved to cook.
“I’ve been making seasonings and sauces for quite a few years, since I was a kid in fact. It was one of the things people have always been telling me to do – to put those on the market.” Williamson launched his Bubba Style seasonings and spices back in March of this year and runs the business with his wife, Sondra. They have three different seasonings available and Williamson says that in about a month they’ll have about four more.
The brand name “Bubba Style” is actually a tribute to a term of endearment – calling someone Bubba. “Every Bubba that I’ve met can cook and so my brand is more than an homage to Forrest Gump, my brand is for all the Bubbas I’ve met as a result of the movie.”
“I’ve got something called Fry Bubba Fry, which reminds people of Run Forrest Run. Bubba doesn’t run — but Bubba can fry.”
Williamson, who even has an Uncle Bubba, described Bubba Style as being not as heavy as Southern style and not as complex as Cajun style. “Bubbas like to do things in a very simple way. Clean, wholesome, down to earth, not fancy. Just clean-tasting, down-home cooking, that’s Bubba Style.”
He explained that other seasonings on the market may have 160mg to 380mg of sodium per serving but Bubba Style only has 10mg. “I don’t believe that you have to use as much salt to make [food] taste good.” You can use the seasonings as a rub for grilling but they’re also good for stews, chicken, pasta, and any other way you want to add flavour to your meal.
Partial proceeds from Bubba Style also support two causes that are close to Williamson’s heart. Save Africa’s Children, an offshoot of the ministry at his family’s church, and United Cancer Advocacy Action Network and the outreach of Rachel Shur, a survivor who has dedicated her life to helping other families who are going through what she went through.
“It’s not just about making money for selfish reasons, but we want to be blessed so we can be a blessing to other people.”
Mykelti Williamson’s Bubba Style spices and seasonings are available in a few locations in California but otherwise only online at the moment. After launching in the spring they are still building up the website to offer products. I haven’t tried them out for myself yet but I was assured that “with shrimp, it’s just to die for.”
Williamson‘s Vancouver-filmed “A Narrow Bridge” is due to air on Lifetime in February 2013 and also features Toni Braxton and David Julian Hirsh.