Chef JJ, chef, Joe Johnson, food, restaurants, CIA, Harlem, interview, Food Is What I Do

As culinary school continues to crank out top performers in this ever growing industry, Chef Joe Johnson continues to stay steps ahead of the new comers. Choosing the Culinary Institute of America as his top choice for the perfect culinary education, and also working in highly praised restaurants such as Centro Vinoteca and Tribeca Grill with some of the industries leading chefs, I recently got a chance to catch up with my fellow CIA alumni, fresh off of his win from Bravo TV's new hit  show "Roccos Dinner Party". Chef Rocco Dispirito and his highly successful friends have a weekly dinner party, where 2 chefs compete to throw the best dinner party, food and decor included and also a top prize of winning  $20,000.  Check out my interview with my fellow CIA alumni, chef, and friend after the jump... 

 CS- Where did you get your education? 
Chef JJ- I did the bachelors program at The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York 

CS- Where have you gotten experience from?
Chef JJ- My externship, I completed  at Tribeca Grill. From there I have gained experience at JANE restaurant, Neptune Room, Centro Vinoteca, and I am now Executive Sous Chef for an executive dining facility 

CS- Out of all your past experiences which of them has shaped you into Chef JJ? 
Chef JJ-  Every experience I have had has helped to shape me into the chef I am today. Many chefs I have worked with, took their time in developing my culinary skills, which has made me the chef I am today. 

CS- Whats your favorite food book?
Chef JJ- Its Culinary Artistry written  by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page 

CS- How does life influence your style of cooking?
Chef JJ, Joe Johnson, Harlem, food, chef, Food Is What I Do, cookbook Chef JJ- Life is a major influence in my cooking style. I grew up around the table eating certain foods that many kids did not eat. This really develop my palate and really made it grow at a young age. Then going to CIA and being around food lovers and going out to eat much more was another influence in my cooking style. I am straight forward cook with and eclectic twist 

CS- Whats the 1 ingredient we wont find in your cooking? 
Chef JJ- I dont know but I do love lemon zest. 

CS- I feel like there are pro's and con's to going to culinary school. Do you think culinary school is important?
Chef JJ- I feel cooking school is very important. It builds a very good foundation with few to no bad habits. But the down side is you occur the Sallie Mae loan which is a major con. Also going to school gets you past some of the guys/girls that just learned how to cook. Just "working" in a restaurant, you will not learn about food cost, labor cost, etc. or the some key ways to save.

CS- Where do you dine when you want a never fail meal? 
Chef JJ- I dine at Gotham Bar and Grill, Alta, Tai Market UWS, and of course Chef JJ's Kitchen

CS- The presence of Chef Rocco Dispirito and Chef Marcus Samuelson must have been heavy. How did you feel as they raised their glasses and toasted to your big win?
Chef JJ- This opportunity gave me the chance to showcase my talents to two outstanding chefs that had 3 stars in the New York Times. I was able to show other chefs that I can really cook.

CS- What can viewers, readers, and fans watch out for next from Chef JJ? 
Chef JJ- Im working on a Pop up restaurant series, so my followers and food tours can taste my food.  Also I have a food social network platform Im going to invest in. I believe in my food social network platform called and Im also doing healthy lifestyle drink (Oatmeal Juice) that I am going to bottle it myself called OMJ, and also Im planning a online tv show.  

Thanks Chef! Also fabulous readers check out Chef JJ's website and links to view Chef JJ on "Rocco's Dinner Party"

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