“From my experience, when people ask me what I do, and I tell them I’m a chef, they seem genuinely interested – because let’s be honest, people need to eat. That’s something everyone has in common. So, I think people are generally interested about food, but they might not know the hard work it takes working in the kitchen on a professional level. That’s why I think Chef’s should take that opportunity to educate people and inform them of what actually goes on behind the scenes. Since I specialize in plant-based cuisine, I get a ton of questions about how I make things plant-based and still taste good or the nutritional aspects of it. I’m more than happy to answer people’s questions and help clarify any misconceptions people have of eating plant-based.“
Chef Owner – PLANTATUDE
I would tell my younger self, “It gets better. Hang in there, and your hard work will pay off.”
Chef Jae has accomplished many things in his 9 years of cooking professionally. You may recognize him from the Food Network’s “Bakers vs Fakers” (Season 2, Episode 11), but he has also created 2 successful companies (Jae’s Sinful Delights and PLANTATUDE). PLANTATUDE, his latest plant-based business provides chef services, private cooking lessons, and recipe development services. Being a plant-based chef isn’t something he takes lightly either, he made sure to have a strong foundation on it “I’ve attended multiple culinary schools specializing in plant-based cuisine. These include PlantLab Culinary Academy (Raw Vegan Cuisine and Desserts) and Rouxbe Culinary School (Plant-based Professional). Additionally, I also received certification for Plant-based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies at Cornell and also Advanced French Pastry certification from Gastronomicom – Miami.”. He isn’t stopping there either, because he will be moving to NYC soon to continue his studies in plant-based cuisine. “I will be attending the Institute of Culinary Education for my diploma in Health Supportive Culinary Arts. I’m always looking to gain knowledge on the subject, and this is a great opportunity for me to get ahead of the game before opening my retail location in Miami.”
Before jumping too far ahead to Chef Jae’s future you should understand where he came from. “When I was younger, my mom sparked my interest for cooking and baking. She would cater events on the weekends as a side gig from her regular job. She would have me do prep work and mise en place at a young age. I learned my knife skills working in her kitchen. My sense of different flavor profiles also developed while helping her out as her kitchen assistant”. This also gave him his personal definition of what a chef is, “For me, being a Chef means you’re constantly striving for knowledge and creativity in the kitchen. It means being open-minded to all possibilities where it comes to food, including the elevation of plant-based cuisine and how it relates to holistic nutrition. More importantly, being a Chef means putting your heart and soul into the food you make because you’re passionate about your job.” These are the quality and traits that keep Chef Jae grounded as well as relatable to his peers.
Being an influential chef himself, always willing to help those who want to learn about plant-based cuisine and more. Chef Jae himself was influenced by other chefs as he was coming into his own and 2 really stood out on this journey. “Julia Child and Martin Yan have been influential because they were inspirational to me when I was younger. I enjoyed Julia Child’s approachable version of French cooking and remember creating one of her desserts as a teenager. It was a fried chocolate truffle that I thought was divine. I also enjoyed watching Martin Yan’s cooking show on PBS. He had this infectious personality that was very entertaining and I learned a lot from him on how to cook Cantonese-style cuisine.” Now he takes what he’s learned and also passes on the knowledge to new chefs. “My advice to someone who wants to be a chef is to dig deep and make sure that it’s your passion. That will get you far in the industry. Your heart has to be in it. Everything else will follow. I would also advise them to keep their ego in check and remain humble. Let your work speak for itself.” These words have never been truer, because once you taste Chef Jae’s food his works speaks for itself and it will leave you speechless.
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