Something's cookin' in the 561 and this time it's not the talented artist this area is producing these days. This time the heat is actually coming from a kitchen! And that kitchen belongs to none other than Mr. Je'Varr Payne better know as "Swagga Chef". This 23 year old from the tough streets of Riviera Beach, FL has made quite a name for himself in the cooking world. He is a business owner/celebrity chef who's created some amazing dishes for entertainers, athletes, business professionals etc. Word of mouth along with his clever video promotion has made him one of the most requested chef's around. And not to mention that this boy can flat out cook!! He has great ambition and love for the culinary arts that will no doubt lead him to untold success. He has a great personality and the coolest tatts of food on his arms that makes him an interesting character. That is why we chose this young man to feature in our publication which also makes him the first chef that has appeared in our magazine. We pride ourselves on featuring talent of ALL types and we've come through again on that promise. Now here's your chance to get to know more about South Florida's own young entrepreneur and celebrity chef, "Swagga Chef".
What's good Swagga Chef, how you doing my man?
[ SWAGGA CHEF ] I'M DOING GOOD, JUST TAKING TIME EVERYDAY TO BETTER MY CRAFT AS A PRIVATE CHEF.
What inspired you to become a chef?
[ SWAGGA CHEF ] TO BE HONEST, IVE ALWAYS LOVED TO COOK AND ENJOYED MAKING DIFFERENT TYPES OF FOOD TASTE GOOD. THEN IN MIDDLE SCHOOL, I GOT INTO HOME ECONOMICS AND REALLY PUSHED HARD TO GET BETTER AS A COOK. THEN HIGH SCHOOL IS WHEN I REALIZED I COULD BE AN AWESOME CHEF.
Coming up, did your friends give you a hard time regarding this career path you chose?
[ SWAGGA CHEF ] HAHA, MY FRIENDS ALREADY KNEW I LOVED TO COOK! SO IT DIDN'T SURPRISE THEM AND ACTUALLY ALOT OF THEM NOW COOK AS WELL.
Where did you receive your formal training?
[ SWAGGA CHEF ] I RECIEVED MY TRAINING FROM THE DIFFERENT RESTAURANTS THAT I COOKED IN. THEN I ATTENDED DAYTONA BEACH STATE COLLEGE FOR FOOD & BEVERAGE MANAGEMENT ALONG WITH COOKING AT 2 RESTAURANTS WHILE I WAS ENROLLED THERE. AFTER MY DEPARTURE, I ATTENDED AND GRADUATED FROM THE FLORIDA CULINARY SCHOOL. FINALLY, I RECIEVED VALUABLE TRAINING FROM DONALD TRUMPS EX-EXECUTIVE AND PRIVATE CHEF "GARY GREGSON".
How did you start preparing meals for entertainers, athletes etc.?
[ SWAGGA CHEF ] I STARTED PREPARING MEALS FOR THEM BY DOING SMALL MUSIC VIDEOS WHEN I WAS A CHEF FOR A PRIVATE FAMILY. THE "DIAMOND PRINCESS" FEMALE RAP ARTIST TRINA NOTICED MY VIDEOS AND GAVE ME A CHANCE TO BE THE PRIVATE CHEF ON HER VIDEO SET. THE 1ST NFL CLIENT I HAD THE CHANCE TO COOK FOR WAS KEVIN JONES FORMERLY OF THE CHICAGO BEARS. HE MADE MY NAME KNOWN WITH A FEW OF HIS TEAMMATES AND IT WENT FROM THERE.
Can you give a few more names of the celebs that you have cooked for?
[ SWAGGA CHEF ] TO NAME A FEW…I'VE ALSO COOKED FOR, SEAN "P. DIDDY" COMBS, KERI HILSON, E-CLASS, ROYCE REED…NFL PLAYERS SUCH AS KEVIN JONES, TOMMIE HARRIS, JASON MCKIE, ORLANDO PACE, ROY WILLIAMS, EMANUEL COOK, JARRETT BROWN, JAMES LEE AND JEREMY ZUTTAH.
Very impressive list. You also have a couple of businesses that you own. Tell me about them.
[ SWAGGA CHEF ] I CURRENTLY COOK IN DIFFERENT CLUB ESTABLISHMENTS WHEN THE NFL LOCKOUT WAS IN EFFECT. BUT I HAVE A RESTAURANT THAT I AM PART OWNER OF WHICH WILL BE CALLED "50 FLAVORZ CHICKEN AND SEAFOOD" IN MY HOMETOWN OF RIVIERA BEACH, FLA WHICH IS DUE TO OPEN IN FEBRUARY 2012. I AM ALSO OWNER AND CHEF OF "SWAGGA CHEF PRIVATE CHEF & CATERING SERVICE".
With all of that going on you somehow found time to write a book too?
[ SWAGGA CHEF ] YES, I WROTE A FULL COOKBOOK THAT I HAVE EMAILED TO DIFFERENT FRIENDS AND CLIENTS BUT I HAVE NEVER TRIED TO GET IT PUBLISHED. BUT I DEFINITELY WILL LOOK INTO THAT WHEN I GET THE CHANCE.
I've seen several of your cooking videos on Youtube that you mentioned before…great idea for advertising & promoting your services. Is the next step for you possibly creating a cooking show?
[ SWAGGA CHEF ] YES, MY VIDEOS ARE WHAT PUT MY TALENT OUT THERE EVEN THOUGH I WAS ALREADY A PRIVATE CHEF FOR TWO FAMILIES OF CEO'S OF MAJOR COMPANIES. AND YES, ACTUALLY IM IN THE PROCESS OF FILMING A PILOT CALLED "BEAUTIFUL WOMAN CAN COOK" WHICH WILL STAR 5 FEMALE CELEBRITIES WHO WILL COOK A MENU OF RECIPES CREATED BY MYSELF.
Sounds like an interesting concept. I look forward to checking it out. Now I have to ask, what is your main dish that you enjoy to prepare that everyone who's had it simply loves?
[ SWAGGA CHEF ] A DISH THAT EVERYONE LOVES THAT I COOK IS MY PAN SEARED, CHILEAN SEA BASS WITH A SCALLION AND SHRIMP BROTH, SERVED WITH CHEFS RICE PILAF AND ROASTED GARLIC AND HONEY ASPARAGUS.
You just made me hungry Swagga Chef!! How can people contact you if they are interested in your catering services or simply want to keep up with what you are doing?
You're a young guy whose hustle has to be respected! Keep doing your thing in the world of culinary art and hopefully other young men (and women) will follow in your footsteps. Now, before you drop your shout outs, give us one key tip to preparing a great meal.
[ SWAGGA CHEF ] I WOULD JUST TELL ANYONE TO FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS AND NEVER LET ANYONE HENDER YOU. I HAVE A QUOTE OF A TATTOO THAT I LIVE BY, "HARDWORK MAKE DREAMS COME TRUE!" BECAUSE IM 23 YRS OLD AND I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD BE DOING WHAT IM DOING NOW BUT AT THE SAME TIME IM NOT SURPRISED BECAUSE I PUT IN ALOT OF WORK. MY TIP FOR COOKING A GREAT MEAL... CONTACT ME THROUGH EMAIL AND I WILL SEND YOU A RECIPE AND YOU CAN JOIN THE MANY PEOPLE WHO ENJOY FOOD AND RECIPES BY SWAGGA CHEF!
OK…and now your shout outs!
[ SWAGGA CHEF ] SHOUT OUTS TO MY 2 CHEFS I HAVE ON MY TEAM. CHEF JENAY GIBSON FROM ORANGE COUNTY, LA "SHE IS AN AMAZING CHEF WHO CAN MAKE YOUR PALLET GO PLACES IT HAS NEVER BEEN BEFORE" AND MY NUTRITION CHEF FROM DETROIT, MICHIGAN CHEF PILAR GAINES ALSO KNOWN AS "THE TASTEBUD DIVA"! SHE BRINGS WONDERFUL AND BRIGHT FOOD WITH A NUTRITIONAL TWIST!