If there is anything that Theo Thomas and Xavier Thomas learned from their grandmothers growing up, it’s the love of cooking. They spent hours in their kitchens watching and practicing, and each has a special memory of cooking at an early age. Theo’s specialty was always his grilled cheese sandwiches on the George Foreman grill, and Xavier distinctly remembers the first time he was allowed to cook Oodles of Noodles on the stove top.
“I was cooking from a young age and seeing what I could do with a little bit of nothing and turning it into something,” says Xavier. “It inspired and influenced my progress in the field.”
Theo visited his family in Mobile, Ala., often and says he was in the midst of cooking at all times, and he was fascinated with the cooking channels.
Both have completed culinary school but say they learned most of what they know through their time in the kitchen at home and their extensive restaurant experience. The two chefs first met in 2009, working on the line in a kitchen together, and their paths have crossed many times since then. Theo was catering local movie sets when social media reconnected the friends, and after working together on set for a short while, they found a brick and mortar location and partnered up as the Fusion Chefs in 2018.
“I call myself a Fusion Chef because I don’t like to cook just one type of cuisine, and Chef X is the same way,” says Theo. “We are creators and like to cook everything and anything! We specialize in cooking.”
For them, food is love, it’s health, and it’s family. Their menu is fluid and ever-changing as the Chefs are constantly creating healthy recipes and meals for families and businesses in Fayette County. Their hibachi was created because of a lifestyle change Chef Theo was implementing throughout his weight loss journey. And when Theo and Xavier decided to pursue a business together, they enhanced the recipes to create a menu that offered a variety of healthy choices to all of Fayette and its surrounding areas.
“I knew Fayetteville didn’t have many options leaning towards a healthy, clean type of eating, which has so many benefits,” says Theo. “Typically, a lot of people run out for lunch and grab something from a fast food restaurant that is packed down with calories, simple carbs, and no essential vitamins or minerals to help you continue the rest of your day. Our Hibachi Bowls are packed with lean protein and provide complex carbs with veggies that provide nutrients and energy.”
Fusion Chefs has plenty of indulgent recipes as well for when you’re feeling like treating yourself, like their lemon pepper or honey Sriracha wings, or the Shrimp Po’Boy with fries. The Chefs are advocates of eating healthy and providing healthier choices but understand that sometimes you get a craving for something else.
For their first year, the Chefs’ Fayetteville location housed an eatery, but the 2019 Taste of Fayetteville winners have recently decided to shift into catering exclusively. Whether serving a large event or an office lunch meeting, their menu has a multitude of options from salads to bowls to sandwiches and quesadillas. Menu planning with meal prep is another service they are proud to offer. Chef Theo is a nutritionist who works with clients to plan healthy options for differing diet-based needs.
The Chefs never hesitate to help the community when they can and gained quite a bit of notoriety by donating a car to a local homeless man after seeing a Facebook post about him on Living in Fabulous Fayetteville. They were interviewed by local news stations as well as Good Morning America and CNN. And the Chefs have also recently partnered with Project XL to teach young chefs the art of cooking through STEAM. The kids learn science, art, and math through making their own meals.
Even today, Theo and Xavier have their preferred stations in the kitchen. Theo lives for the grill, though his ingredients and creations are much more intricate than grilled cheese sandwiches; and Xavier is a skilled sauté chef, cooking dishes much more complex and nutritious than Oodles of Noodles; but then, some habits are hard to break.
“Whether it’s a large catering or a small event, we’ll make it happen.” — Chef X
“We want to make every single customer happy. They come in here with a smile, and we want them to leave with a smile.” — Chef Theo