Okay now people, did you guys see the premiere of Rocco’s Dinner Party on Bravo Wednesday night? Didn’t you just wanna be there to eat some of that down home cooking at the speakeasy! Anyhow, the winner of Rocco’s Dinner Party did such a good job and brought back such fond memories for yours truly-growing up country for me meant some good ole Oxtails! So, J.J. Johnson is his name & I’m sooo excited to bring you guys the interview with chef J. J. Johnson!!!
Would you provide a bit of background for my readers?
Joseph “Chef JJ” Johnson has come a long way from his small hometown of Tobyhanna, PA. Fueled by his Caribbean grandmother’s support, Chef JJ knew that he wanted to be a chef at a young age.After watching a commercial for the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, Chef JJ knew that upon his high school graduation, that’s where he wanted to start his culinary training. While earning his Bachelor’s degree at CIA he had the honor of studying under culinary luminaries Stephen Lewandowski, Eric Basulto’s, and Brian Ellis.While Chef JJ currently shares his culinary talents in an executive dining institute, he spends countless hours a week consulting, hosting cooking parties, teaching cooking classes, and enlightening others on the benefits of eating healthy. In an effort to get people more conscious of what they put in their bodies, Chef JJ is launching a lifestyle drink, Oatmeal Juice, in 2011. As if he doesn’t have a lot on his plate already, Chef JJ is also the co-founder of the culinary social networking site, Urpalate.com.Chef JJ believes food is an expression and cooking is the greatest stimulator. He incorporates local ingredients and modern cooking techniques, all with a sense of love and humor to his food. As he continues to make his mark in the kitchen circuit, he’s ready to take on and own up to the title his closest peers gave him as “The Golden Chef”.
I understand your grandmother was a big influence in your cooking choices…Have you always wanted to become a chef?
Always wanted to be a chef. I would go grocery shopping with my grandmother as little kid a watch what she would eat and cook. Some of the foods that I hated as a kid are my Favs now IE beets, Squash, zuchinini. Only why I would have not been a chef if I did not get accepted to ”The Culinary Institute of America”
Were you intimidated by the other 2 chefs and finally, the one chef?
No chef is intmidating I compete with myself. It was funny to really hear what they had to say but I did not care. I was there to do one thing please the judges and win.
Were you comfortable with your food choices in regards to the theme?
I was really comfortable with the food choices because it was built around the theme. If I was to do those choices at another dinner party I would fail. I feel the Theme I made great choice of room decor and food. Now looking back the other chef just cooked stuff off his everyday menu and try to incorporate those products into the theme.
Now that you’ve won the competition, what’s next for chef J.J.?
I was going to invest it into projects I believe in my food social network platform called urpalate.com and a healthy lifestyle drink (oatmeal juice) that I am going to bottle myself called OMJ
I am also working on Pop restaurant series, so my followers and food tours can taste my food. Also an online TV show. Hopefully more will come and I will be able to make some choices that fit me.
Clara54 was/is still reeling from having the opportunity to interview this wonderful chef! His recipes were spot on!