We’ve heard the story of food being considered medicine. But for Jamaican New Yorker Javon Pink, food was companionship, therapy and cure, all marinated, seasoned and cooked into a single meal.
Today, he goes by the nickname Cooking With Jeff and takes great pleasure in preparing authentic Jamaican dishes and sharing them on social media. His menu items range from curried prawns and callaloo rice, ackee and saltfish cuts and peanut porridge to sausage and pepper rigatoni pasta, honey barbecue wings, spinach rasta pasta , grilled lobster and baked fish, to name a few. “My favorite dishes are mainly chicken and fish, with sides like rice and vegetables. But I love Rasta pasta,” he said. Food.
Growing up in Jamaica meant being surrounded by rich flavors. “I was born and raised in Kingston, to be precise. I also lived in Junction, St Elizabeth, for a year. I loved it there too. Jamaican food is the best in the world, so I’m always connected. I can’t give my roots away for anything,” he revealed.
While his mother was equally knowledgeable in the kitchen, it was his grandmother who did most of the cooking, and it was there that he discovered his love for a healthy meal.
As he got older, he began to serve himself to savory and sweet delicacies. “Because my mum was working a lot of overtime, I started cooking small dishes, like baked beans and rice, and maybe sausages. Gradually, I started to improve. ” By the age of 10, he was cooking like adults. Even his mother’s colleague was impressed by his talent at such a young age. “I discovered herbs, spices and flavors. an only child, so I had to help myself. And my mom would come home to a freshly cooked meal,” Pink added.
He not only cooked for his mother, but the aspiring chef also prepared meals for other family members and friends. As he improved, others entrusted him with cooking for them. And he received pure happiness from feeding others and seeing them satisfied after a meal
Reserved by nature, it has been lit by flame to display a vibrant and daring culinary passion and expression. “I love cooking dishes that would last more than one sitting,” he pointed out, adding that economically it makes sense. From a practical point of view, cooking at home was healthier than eating out because it could control who was cooking and the cleanliness of the environment in which the food was prepared.
“When I cooked for my family and friends, they loved it. They would encourage me to take it more seriously and make it a possible career. So one day I created an Instagram page to showcase some of what I do and am good at,” he shared. Pink dedicated his handle to the pet name he received while living in Jamaica, Jeff.
Now based in the Big Apple, the self-taught chef teases palates, reconnecting to roots with his interpretations of local favourites. “As a chef, I like being able to freely be artistic and creative and satisfy my taste buds. My style of cooking is colorful, appealing to the eye and tasty,” he said.
Since making his page official in September 2020, he has become more consistent in 2021, receiving positive feedback from his viewers and followers for producing good content. In December 2021, he held his first-ever bake sale and the response was amazing: “Customers loved it,” he remarked.
Juggling multiple day-to-day activities is far from easy, and time management was one of the biggest hurdles Pink had to overcome. But he gives himself the grace, doing what he can when he can. Preparation, he says, is key, and having the right tools will get you the right results,
“My hope is to one day own a sports bar and restaurant, or a lounge, and a take-out restaurant in the near future.”
So what is his advice to budding chefs? “Write down your goals, so they show up in real life. Be authentic and creative in a way that you can set your trend with your own style and most importantly, believe in yourself and plan your goals.