The full title of this article by Rachele Viard (The Haitian Times) is “Chef Jouvens Jean, Food Network Star, Celebrates Haitian Heritage Through Food.” Here are excerpts:
Chef Jouvens Jean, a winner of The Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen, is a talented culinary ambassador for Haitian and Caribbean cuisine.
Born to Haitian parents in the Bahamas and raised in the U.S., Jean brought his talents and expertise back to Haiti after reaching much acclaim. He has served as executive consulting chef at the Marriott Port-au-Prince and Kinam Hotel and as executive chef at Pétion-Ville’s JoJo Restaurant.
Now, Jean lives in Miami and is the executive chef at Sawa Restaurant and Lounge in Coral Gables. He spoke with The Haitian Times about his journey and another passion, The Chef Jouvens Foundation to benefit young people in Haiti.
The Haitian Times: What attracted you to the kitchen?
Chef Jouvens Jean: What attracted me to the kitchen was the camaraderie and brotherhood, sisterhood that the kitchen has.
THT: Growing up, did you do a lot of cooking?
JJ: I did no cooking growing up. My mom was too afraid that I would burn down the house because I was a troublemaker as a kid.
THT: You are passionate about food. “Put Your Heart In It” is your culinary credo. Can you please explain what you mean?
JJ: I think that everything you make a conscious decision to do that is meaningful to you, [that] you must put love and your all in whatever you undertake.
For me especially, for the food, if you are not really putting the love in the food, you are not going to get a great result. For some people, cooking is mechanical. When I am putting together a particular dish, whether I have a recipe or not, my heart guides me.
If my heart is not in it, I will not serve the dish.
THT: When you were in restaurants in Haiti, wherever you were [working] became the go-to place for exquisite food, and more importantly, typical Haitian dishes were elevated. Your passion was felt in every bite. What drives and motivates you?
JJ: I take inspiration in everything: A cook’s laughter, how the wind blows, the sound of the dining room, the color of a flower, the smell of an herb. Everything that evokes an emotion within motivates me. [. . .]
For full article, see https://haitiantimes.com/2020/08/21/chef-jouvens-jean-food-network-star-celebrates-haitian-heritage-through-food