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-So how did you come up with the name “Thuggin’ Chef”?
CHEF: Well, that’s a funny story.
Actually, I was at dinner one night with some family members and I was telling them that I wanted to do a cooking show.
Somehow or another my Aunt Rhonda said “The Thug Chef” and I kind of liked it. Then I thought about it and said “The Thuggin’ Chef”.
So I was kind of tossing it up between the Thug Chef and the Thuggin’Chef.
The Thuggin’ Chef” just fits me better,.

-How did you get into cooking?

CHEF: Well, I got into cooking as a child. My grandmother always encouraged me to learn how to be independent and cook for myself. Plus, I always watched my mom cooking in the kitchen. I would just hang out in the kitchen watching her put together these phenomenal meals. Sometimes it would be Chinese food night complete with wok pot style prawn fried rice, egg foo yung, tea, the whole nine yards. Or sometimes it might be Phillipino food with homemade pancit. Creole night with Jambalaya. All meals from scratch. I would be so hungry standing in the kitchen like a hungry puppy, drooling. When I got older, I just remembered how she cooked the meals and started cooking them myself. Of course they never tasted exactly like hers but I came pretty close a few times. Just had a natural touch and passion for cooking….. and eating (he laughs).

- So what is your specialty?-
CHEF: Well, people ask me that all the time, ah.. I really don’t have one particular specialty, because I’m pretty much good at most things. I love to eat all nationalities of cooking. Not very picky and always willing to try something new. You have to be open-minded. With cooking, you never learn it all because it is continually evolving and progressing. Just when you thought you had something down, somebody adds a twist to it. That is the beauty of Culinary Arts. So many styles I love. Indian, Creole, Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian, Mexican, and the list goes on.

- What do you think about fusion cooking?
CHEF: Well, I like the whole concept of Fusion cooking, because it brings other cultures together and culinary styles together which is the future of cooking. That’s what I want to be a part of. That’s what I like. I’m all about Fusion and contrast and different flavors and textures. There is no limit.
It’s just like musical compositions or music producing. You know, I am a music producer. I do music as well, and I know I can live and die a hundred thousand times and still never soak up everything there is to know about music and different rhythms. The same applies to Culinary Art.

- So I heard you’ve lived in Tokyo for 4 years. Is that true?
CHEF: Yes, it is.
- So can you speak Japanese?
CHEF: (In Japanese) Itsumo Nihongo benkyo shimasu. Demo wakaranai tango ga ippai arimasu. (I always study Japanese, but there are a lot of words that I don’t understand.)

CHEF: I am not 100% fluent in Japanese, but I have a lot of books to study. I practice whenever I can.
(In Japanese) Ippai hon arimasu yo. (I have a lot of books.)

- What do you think about Japanese cooking?
CHEF: Oh, when I went to Japan, it was a serious culture shock you know, but to me Japanese chefs are among the best chefs in the world. They prove time and time again that they are on top of their game as far as culinary precision. I watch shows like Iron Chef and such and they really prove that they can compete with the best. The exactness in which they prepare and present a dish is amazing. The artistic ways that they build up these plates and what they are doing with different foods is just great. I wish to train up under Japanese chefs someday. Some sort of apprenticeship. I plan on going back to Japan in about 2 yrs to learn more about Japanese style culinary arts and cooking, placing a strong focus on contrast.With both flavors and textures.

- So have you ever had any sort of schooling? Culinary art schooling or professional training?
CHEF: Oh yes, actually I graduated with Honors in the culinary program from Art Institute of Seattle. It’s funny because I never checked my grades online throughout the program and didn’t know until the end that I had graduated with Honors. Oh well.

- So what do you see The Thuggin’ Chef doing in the near future?
CHEF: Well, I see The Thuggin’Chef going all the way. The whole concept, you know. The cooking show is the perfect platform to do everything that I want to do with my entertainment. As some of my fans know, I act, sing, write music, write screen plays, do stand-up comedy, I wanna do cooking shows for kids, I wanna do cook books. I mean the skies the limit. I was always a good cook but Culinary Arts showed me the science of why the food tasted good. It just opened up so many doors for me. You know I always had a lot of opportunities, but now I see a lot more. Right now it’s just time to be focused. I have the vision. That’s the hard part. Now it’s just up to me to go ahead and execute the plan in order to get where I need to be. You know what I’m saying? The Thuggin’ Chef!(he smiles).

- Do you want to do a cooking class in Japan?
CHEF: Definitely! Maybe even a cooking show. Who knows…maybe even a Thuggin’Chef world tour!. Anything is possible when you’re The Thuggin’Chef.(he laughs).

- What is your favorite thing to eat?
CHEF: That is a question that I don’t think I can ever answer. I mean, I have too many favorite things. I do love Shrimp Jambalaya but really, everything is my favorite thing to eat. Just really good versions of it.

- Who are your favorite food network stars?
CHEF: Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, and Tyler Florence.

Message to all my fans,
To all those who have believed in me from the start and never doubted that I could do it, I thank you. Thank you for the support and never compromising great art for fancy lights and gimmicks. Everyone has a destiny. This is mine. Creating masterpieces that become symphonies for the palate. The legacy of a star that survived all odds to shine. When it feels like the world is on your shoulders,…..close your eyes…take a deep breath…and see the vision. Never doubt Life, Never doubt Art, and Never doubt Yourself.
Peace to The World!,
The Thuggin’ Chef
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