The Full Story
Meet Sean, the grillmaster extraordinaire hailing from Lake Charles, Louisiana. His childhood was steeped in the vibrant culture of the South until he ventured to California. Fate led him to Tommy through the Long Beach music club scene, where a simple BBQ invitation sparked a destiny.
In the heart of San Pedro, Tommy's regular BBQ extravaganzas became legendary. Sean, drawn to the grill, took over one day and never looked back. Under the California sun, he stood for hours, transforming BBQs into culinary spectacles. His passion led him to Big Bear, where dreams converged, and The CookShak was born. Sean, living his dream, now BBQs all day, every day, bringing the taste of Louisiana to California.
In the '60s, Bill dove into the culinary scene at 14, rocking the pot-washing game at Andres in Laguna Beach. His '50s Ford, bought for $50 (a steal!), carried him Newport to Laguna without a license. Under a chef's wing, he mastered the art of cooking, and yes, there's a big difference between pot washer and dishwasher!
Bob's Big Box in Costa Mesa saw three years of Bill's charm, but the owner of The Wooden Shoe in Tustin wanted him as head chef, offering the princely sum of $3.12/hr. The 5 Crowns in Corona del Mar became his learning ground, and then the draft and a June '66 wedding followed.
Post-army, Bill became a culinary maestro managing three locations. He wore the manager hat, training managers all over SoCal. A stint in Laguna Beach restaurant ownership was sandwiched between gigs with Reubens Chain and spots like The Village Inn in Balboa Island and The Jolly Roger in Laguna.
Burnout led to a construction detour for a decade. Then, a twist of fate – Big Bear, The Mountain, Oakside, and finally, The CookShak! Retirement? Nah, not yet for this culinary maestro, always dishing out flavors and laughs.
Meet Ally, a SoCal native with roots in the heart of LA. About 9 years ago, she followed the mountain breeze to Big Bear, bringing with her a taste for the soulful flavors of Inglewood where she grew up.
Her journey took a turn when she met Tommy, changing her path from sales to a flavorful adventure. They tied the knot in September 2023 at the Elks Lodge, where the Cookshak, with its star brisket, catered their celebration.
Now, as the marketing maestro for The CookShak, Ally brings her creative touch to the forefront. Among her innovations is the Sunshine Veggie, a standout vegan option that adds a burst of flavor to the menu. Ally, with her vibrant spirit and culinary creativity, adds a touch of sunshine to The CookShak experience.