Shaheed Claiborne

February 25, 1978 – January 20, 2020

Photo of Shaheed Claiborne

“Louisiana…How I love her so!” – Shaheed Claiborne, World Food Championship Biography

Shaheed Claiborne was an entrepreneur and chef born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Shaheed, born February 25, 1978, founded his own food truck company, Boo Shay’s, in 2016. Shaheed said that his passion in life was food and the history of Louisiana’s cuisine and that he was in love with every aspect of it. Boo Shay’s served Creole, Cajun, and Creole-inspired fusion cuisine to the greater Baton Rouge community, garnering much devoted praise from fans. Boo Shay’s was a regular fixture at events across Baton Rouge, from formal events at the Bayou Supper Club to family meals enjoyed by all.

Shaheed’s commitment to community was self-evident. Shaheed held cooking demos, including Shrimp and Grits at Rapides Parish Library, and made many appearances on local broadcasts, including an interview on Good Day Cenla on CBS 2 Alexandria on October 20, 2016. In that interview, Shaheed discussed his Bayou Beef on a Bun, an award-winning burger filled with caramelized onions, portobello mushrooms, cheese, and crawfish tails, topped with a remoulade slaw and arugula. He also discussed his delicious pimento grits, which start with quick grits and are topped with celery leaf, andouille sausage, and crawfish tails.

Boo Shay's food truck

Boo Shay’s food truck

Shaheed was a self-taught chef, and he credited developing this skill-set “in a microwave in a Federal Prison, while serving my debt.” Shaheed attributed his love and exposure to Creole and Cajun cooking to his mother and grandmother, who were of West African, Native American, and Creole origin. Shaheed competed in local food competitions, which ultimately led to him qualifying in the World Food Championship in 2016 and being a World Championship Golden Ticket holder. To quote Shaheed, through cooking, he was “introduced to myself…again.” Despite the long list of awards Shaheed received for his cooking, Shaheed claimed his biggest achievement was “overcoming my obstacles that life has thrown at me.”

A salmon and crawfish dish with pasta prepared by Shaheed

A seafood and pasta dish crafted by Shaheed.

Shaheed had a long and passionate history of civic engagement. In 2009 he began serving as his mother’s primary caretaker after she was partially paralyzed following a surgery for scoliosis. Shaheed’s mother, Rev. Betty Claiborne, was a civil rights leader and icon who pushed to integrate the city’s swimming pools. Shaheed fed, bathed, and drove his mother to twice weekly therapy sessions whilst also participating in community outreach programs about preventing bullying and violence in high school and elementary school. Rev. Claiborne passed away on January 17, 2020. Shaheed was devastated.

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 2020, Shaheed tragically departed from this world at age 41. In tributes, many, including civil rights activist Gary Chambers Jr., blamed a system that failed Shaheed as he mourned the loss of his mother. Shaheed is survived by his children, including Shaheedra Jordan, Sahara Claiborne, and Leiaja Claiborne, who continue to fight for justice for Shaheed.

Shaheed was an artist with food, using the Louisiana flavors introduced to him by his mother and grandmother to create his art. His deep love for his family and community was a guiding star throughout his life.

Author: Nadia Kamoona


  • Louisiana Secretary of State Business Filings database
  • Brief on Behalf of Appellee, U.S. v. Claiborne, 5th Cir. 2012 WL 2884177 (July 10, 2012).