Joel A. Smith

Joel Smith’s love of food, and the business behind it, started in his hometown of St Louis. By age 12, Smith was following in his mother’s footsteps, having learned to not only to master her legendary key lime pie, but also how to turn a profit by taking pre-orders and selling them to friends and family. Smith's approach is to blend favorite family recipes mixed with a love of cooking and hosting, are the foundation of Smith's approach to his craft.  

At 16, Smith began working at a series of St. Louis’ top-rated restaurants. Within a few years, Smith ventured to New York City. Smith was immersed in NY’s vibrant restaurant scene of the 80’s, seeking to expand his knowledge of fine dining. Smith now brings over 40 years of restaurant experience, including many successful ventures and consultancies, to Joel’s Jerk Hut.  

Smith always felt most at home in the kitchen. Traveling to Jamaica for over 25 years, including many years consulting for one of the island’s top boutique hotels, his love for island culture and food deepened. Smith sought out several projects throughout the Caribbean, continuing to visit Jamaica as often as possible - always stopping for jerk chicken immediately upon arrival.

With decades of culinary experience, Smith now brings the simplicity of going to “Me’Yard” (traditional Jamaican jerked chicken road-side stands) to his beloved Saratoga. Joel’s Jerk Hut is a dream come true, as Smith pairs the best of Caribbean flavors with a sense of hospitality that goes back to his roots, where he created a community of family and friends—all over a plate of spicy chicken!