Expert Game Chef
Billy Joe Cross was born in Meridian, Mississippi, educated in the Meridian Public School District and graduated from Meridian High School. He furthered his education at Mississippi College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He also took wildlife management classes as part of the master’s program at Mississippi State University.
Billy Joe served as a chemist with Spencer Chemical Company of Vicksburg for six years. He later taught at Hinds Community College, Holmes Community College and Mississippi College. Besides teaching students in the classroom, Billy Joe coached several sports teams.
In 1964, Billy Joe was elected a state representative from Warren County in Mississippi. He is a Mason, a Shriner and a Marine Corps veteran. In addition, he has served as president of the Mississippi Flyway Council, which consists of 14 states and three Canadian provinces. He has also served as president of the Southeastern Association of Game and Fish Directors. For six years, Billy Joe served as executive director of the Mississippi Game and Fish Commission.
In 1966, Billy Joe was chosen as one of the outstanding young men of America, and in 1967, was elected one of the Outstanding Personalities of the South. The Mississippi Wildlife Federation chose him as Wildlife Conservationist of the Year in 1979.
In 1966, Billy Joe became Ducks Unlimited (DU) Regional Director, overseeing 17 states. During his tenure with DU, he subsequently served as regional supervisor, Mississippi Flyway MARSH coordinator, field operations supervisor and director of field operations.
As a chef, Billy Joe has produced 15 cooking shows for national television, including six shows sponsored by GMC. He has also been featured on cooking shows for Mississippi ETV and WLBT Midday Mississippi, in Jackson, Mississippi. In addition, Billy Joe has served as a columnist for DU Magazine. He has authored eight cookbooks, edited three, and been featured in three additional cookbooks.
In the last three years, Billy Joe has taught more than 20 cooking classes at churches, schools and events across the Southeast. He has also participated in dinners to help raise millions for scholarships, athletic programs and organizations. Billy Joe is a frequent teacher and lecturer for the Viking Culinary Institute.
Billy Joe lives in Brandon with his wife, Robbie Cross.