I was invited to New York Fashion Week in February but not just as a fashion icon for poor people but also as a famous international Gastro Snob. When chef Anthony ”TJ” Reddick found out that I was there (Hilton New York Fashion District) , he immediately called me and asked: ”Please, Can we meet? You could give me some advice and maybe interview me? Please, I want to be famous.”
I’m a good man. I told him: ”If I was able to help Anthony Bourdain become famous, I can also help Anthony ”TJ” Reddick. Just don’t kill yourself!”
Before cooking, you served in the Army National Guard for 5 years, including 16 months in Iraq. Why did you go to army and how did black Rambo from Chicago become famous chef? Who inspired you? (we can say black in Croatia. It’s not racist like in Usa:))
I was actually cooking in the restaurant industry before, during and after my time in the military. I joined because I just wanted to apply myself to my community more plus I needed help funding college aspirations. “ha, Black Rambo, luv it!” it has always been an aspiration of mine to be a renowned chef from an early age. I set that goal and maintained the course to acquire it.
2016 your earned a Bachelor degree of Science in Food & Beverage Management from The Art Institute of Atlanta. How much is your education important for your cooking? Today, people thinks that they can learn everything from Youtube. In Croatia is very popular to buy diploma:)
Education, to me, is a system by which you are judged and graded based on the average norms. In the cooking world, most chefs are naturally talented in the artistry of cooking (if you ask me) the schooling aspect is more for the corporate or “social norms” world, so they can fit us in their box(es) and govern us accordingly. As you’ve seen in the news, I’m sure, it’s pretty popular to “buy” your way into any degree, school or diploma here too.
You’ve been a winner of the popular Food Network show – Cooks vs Cons. How did you win? What’s your culinary secret? What’s your special dish that no one can resist? Did they invite you on Food Network or your wife told you: ”Stop messing with my kitchen. If you wont to be a chef go on TV show!”
Cooks Vs Cons was an amazing adventure step for me and my career. Quite frankly I think I won for two reasons. My charisma and TV appeal but ultimately for my skill to K.I.S.S (Keep it Simple and Stupid). After watching many shows, one starts to pick up on the very basic fails others have done before and you avoid those allowing your true skill and adaptability to shine through. No comment about the ex-wife
You are also owner of successful JDR catering company. Tell me something more about your business. Did you start with your private business after you won that TV contest or earlier and do you plan to open your restaurant or work in one?
JDR Food Services is my legacy company. I feel like I have reach a lot of my goals and now want to assist in ushering in the new chapter of my lineage. JDR Food Services is the mother company of my business ventures to include: JDR Catering Co, Chef Tj’s Private Kitchen and more to come. My businesses were in operation – very small scale – prior to my time on tv and completion of my Bachelor’s Degree achievement however with the exposure on Food Network, I was able to pull out of working for others and working more on my own ventures.
Why are Americans so afraid of gluten? Do they even know what gluten is? They should be more afraid of GMO and all that sugar that they are eating:)
I don’t know if Americans, in general, are afraid of Gluten, really, as so much concentrate on the affects it has on the body, especially because the demand for food has grown to a level where we have to do unbelievably things to try to meet the level of consumption.
I give you croatian delicates Lino Lada Gold and you realy like it. Have you ever been in Croatia and do you know anything about Croatia and our gastronomy?
Among France and Greece, Croatia is definitely a place highly ranked on my list of places I want to visit. Lino Lada Gold was an amazing product and I wish i would have had more time to work with and explore it. Especially because I am not too savvy in the baking world. I would have liked to see/use it in a more savory setting.
What’s your favorite dish and can you share one of your favourite recipes for Croatian audience.
I love to experiment with a lot of ethniic cuisine fusions. Believe it or not I don’t really use a lot (or any) recipes. i got a book, The Flavor Bible) from a colleague and that book has all but replaced my need fo recipes. Just knowing the flavors and what works best with or in contrast to other food items is really enough to get the creativity flowing!
Is this interview for Flash.hr peek of your chef career and if its not, you can lie that it is:)
This is certainly not the pinnacle of my career and I am looking to gain and grow much much more along the way, still.
Where have you been on 1991.?
Don’t understand this question?
If I didn’t ask you something and you would like to say, say now, or don’t talk at all:)
Live, Love and Eat (well). My montra:)
Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo with Mr. Anthony but that will not stop me to publish my photo and promote myself:)
PS: I know that you have prepared food for anorexic models, but I will never forgive you for that fruit salad for lunch. I was expecting Silence of the lambs or any other dead animal on the plate.
Author: Dear Leader Joe aka Gastro Snob, a corresponding member of the “I eat gluten for breakfast” magazine, a friend to the wealthy, a tycoon and a snob but above all a human.