Uniting Chicago Residents One Cooking Class at a Time

By Pelaiah Mpande on February 24, 2022


For over a decade, Abbey Cannon, the General Manager of Cooking Skills Academy and co-owner of That Rub and Aunt Tina’s Sound Bites food truck, has been dreaming about a career in the food industry.  In 2020, she and her husband, Tony Cannon, started That Rub LLC, a seasoning blend and dry rub manufacturer, and this April, they are launching a food truck that features comfort food and music, and includes their seasonings in most menu items. The food truck will focus their business in the suburbs of Chicago.

“What makes us different is our passion and strong desire to connect with people through food,  products, and cooking classes in all three business verticals. When we have customers who feel  connected, they tend to become repeat customers, which is vital to our success.”

Abbey is originally from Chicagoland, but moved to Tennessee for college, where she met her husband. The couple moved back to Roselle, IL in May 2016. She finds Chicago a welcoming city with immense diversity. Abbey and Tony have two kids and love karaoke and singing.

Abbey, who is a raving Cubs, Bulls, and Tennessee Titan fan, runs her business with her husband and  two teens. They offer cooking classes featuring many diverse cuisines, in-house That Rub  seasoning, and their food truck has a mission to connect people and community through comfort food and music.

Abbey is what we like to call a local biz hero, a self-made entrepreneur who brings true value to her  community. High standards of professionalism and the strong work ethics of small business owners  like Abbey are the infrastructures of the Chicago economy.

Every dollar that Abbey makes goes back to supporting the local business ecosystem and the  community. She is passionate about racial equality and unifying people by promoting the beauty of cultural differences..

We sat down with Abbey for a quick interview –

Q: What’s the main problem you solve for your customers?

A: We offer multiple food options  to customers in the suburbs of Chicago. We will be offering  food truck services in the local area, diverse cuisine options at Cooking Skills Academy, and delicious seasoning blends for simple at-home cooking through That Rub. Through our cooking lessons and non-profit initiatives, we are uniting residents of  Chicago.

Q: Why did you go into this business? 

A: We all have a way to make a difference in the world. Through our business, we want to promote  inclusion and diversity through different food options– Japanese, Thai, Soul, and more. While it is  crucial to follow our passion, we always remember to keep the customer experience our highest  priority, because that’s what makes a difference.

Q: Do you want to tell us a bit about Aunt Tina?

A: She was my husband’s aunt, who passed unexpectedly. She taught my husband, Tony, most of what  he knows about cooking and running a business. She pushed him to go to culinary school where he learned about different cuisines. She always stood for unity and bringing people together, and we are carrying her principles with us today.

Q: What is the most significant event that ever happened to you? 

A: Five years ago, I underwent heart transplantation and received a donor’s heart. I had a heart  condition that led to transplant surgery. After this event, I realized that we should not take anything  for granted. We should be more willing to take risks and never get comfortable in one place.

Q: If you could share one tip with the readers interested in this field, what would it be?

A: I encourage readers to step out of their comfort zone and gear up. Expand your horizons and learn  how to make different cuisines.

If you are looking for an unmatched food or cooking classes, Cooking Skills Academy, That Rub seasonings, and Aunt Tina’s Soundbites should be your first choices. Your experience will get significantly better with them as their tagline says, “Better Together.”

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