WACO, Texas — Back in 2014 we introduced you to Chef Ken Wilkinson, a chocolatier in the small city of Calvert.
We came across his chocolate shop with truffles that would bring people in for miles just to try them. Chef Ken Wilkinson’s personality was as big as the lone star state but unfortunately chef Ken suffered a traumatic brain injury and he’s not the man he once was. We wanted to go check on a friend on this segment we call checking it twice.
His legendary chocolates and charming personality set him apart in any part of the Lone Star State. Over the years, we shared lots of laughs with Chef Ken and wife Jacquelyn and any time we cruised through Calvert, we always stopped by to say hello and hear his incredibly witty jokes and outlook on life.
“Life is wonderful,” Ken said. “Embrace every second of it and whatever happens, happens and that really is it.”
Hearing him say those words then is what makes seeing him now so tough.
Ken fell off a ladder in 2016 and suffered a traumatic brain injury. After years of rehab and surgeries, his mobility, speech, and cognitive has improved but due to short term memory loss, even things like what year it can be difficult for Ken. Despite the setback, the charming, funny, and full of life Brit is getting back in the saddle.
The love Jacquelyn has for her husband has not diminished a bit since the day of the accident. By his side every step of the way, she’s been the constant in Chef Ken’s recovery.
“It’s been an incredible journey because of all the miracles that I see that he can do,” Jacquelyn said.
After being in a coma for 70 days, the Englishman who started a chocolate shop in a tiny Texas town faced the biggest challenge of his life. Battling back from a brain injury that’s completely changed his life.
“It’s hard sometimes when you can’t find the words,” Jacquelyn said. “You don’t lose your intelligence. You know what’s going on it’s just not being able to express it.”
Eventually Jacquelyn had to make some tough decisions regarding the business her husband built.
“My husband is the best at what he does and he started something and I wanted to continue,” Jacquelyn said. “Cocoamoda to me is the legacy that he will leave.”
After closing the doors to the world-famous chocolates shop, the couple moved to Waco to be closer to Ken’s therapists.
“I just pray that I’m doing the right thing for him and us and for our life,” Jacquelyn said. “I want to make him proud.”
Jackie got to work and started making the truffles that took Texas by storm.
“I’m very blessed to have worked side by side with him for years,” Jacquelyn said. “To have learned his technique, to have the recipes. I’ve actually created several. It’s like I’m literally working through his hands. It’s the most incredible thing.”
The Wilkinsons are working their way back to making Cocoamoda what it once was. Now you can find their confections at the Waco Winery, just a few blocks from the sought-after silos.
“It’s not just about coming to get a glass of wine and a truffle,” Jacquelyn said. “It’s about getting them addicted to Cocoamoda all over again.”
Bringing back the sweet morsels that made mouths water wasn’t the only revival that had to be accomplished. Jacqueline also had to reignite the love her and Ken shared after he forgot they were married.
“To say that your spouse literally fell in love with you twice in a lifetime. I say gosh, can you imagine if I had tried?” Jacqueline said.
So the sweethearts continue to make sweets together.
“You’re the best chocolate maker in the whole world, aren’t you?” Jacqueline said.
For more information on Ken’s recovery and how can help, visit TheTexasBucketList.com