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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

< Back to Oral History project: Biloxi’s Ethnic Shrimping Communities

ORAL HISTORY

Georgo Trojanovich, chef


Mary Mahoney's Old French House

Georgo Trojanovich is, as he says, “The only real Croatian in Biloxi.” But in a city as proud as this one is of its Croatian heritage, everyone here knows what he means: with the arrival of Croatian families tailing off by the second half of the 20th century, Georgo is one of the few – yes, perhaps only – Croatian-born immigrants in town.

A distant relative of a local restaurateur, Georgo came as a teenager to escape Tito’s Communist regime, working as a dishwasher at Mary Mahoney’s restaurant. While feeling taken in by friends and the community, he struggled to learn the language, to acclimate to the food, but always knew that going home was not an option. He bought a house from money he’d saved from three years of constant work, learned to cook from a gifted mentor, rose to be the Chef of Mary Mahoney’s to find himself, 20 years later, grilling a snapper for Ronald Reagan. Not bad work, you’d think, for a boy who’d never seen a shrimp until the age of 16.

Date of interview:
2008-08-25 00:00

Interviewer:
Francis Lam

Photographer:
Francis Lam

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