My heart on a plate

My heart on a plate

Ok, so here’s the thing. Development, like  I have mentioned before, is my absolute best thing. I love taking a raw ingredient and making it something amazing (or not) and being able to see peoples reaction to what I put down in front of them.

My biggest project in my new job, so far, was developing a menu inspired by the tastes of the Mediterranean. Think, oregano, lemon, mint, olive oil. Up the anti, to make sure it’s contemporary without being too modern, that it’s packed with flavor and that half the team I work with are actually Cyprian…eeeeeeek! Also, the entire process. I have a menu team/committee, that does research on the theme or feel we are going for, they give me the research and then I do MORE research. I then come up with dishes, not 3 or 6, but like 80….again, eeeeeeeeeeek!!!!! Then we sit, and run through the dishes I have in mind, we talk about plating, I try to paint the picture, so that they can see my vision. I have photo references of certain things, or print outs of recipes. Ok. We figure out what works, tweek some ideas, cut some dishes. Right. So we have 40 know. (Still Eek!)

Now for the fun.

I cook.

Each dish, with each component, with each garnish, with each flavor, with each issue, with each struggle, with each thing. Ha!

Then, I present. To our little panel. Tasha then tastes, and dissects, and critiques, and adds her flare. Then again, we sit, make changes, cut items, add items, get recipes, do more research, look at photos, sit with recipe books…and AGAIN, I cook and we go through this process until we are all happy.

The final tasting, I cooked about 38 dishes. Over the period of 5 hours. About 8 people tasted.

When I know something is good, I find myself really excited when I put that plate down. Sometimes though, I have doubt and I think, what the actual hell did i just make? Other times, I’m just like “Ok, no, back to the drawing board”

When I am doing these tastings, I don’t sleep, I hardly eat and I run off pure adrenaline, until I collapse into a chair, next to Tasha, she then hugs me and kisses my forehead. “Well done” she says, and I get emotional and almost start crying. Almost like a parent telling you how proud they might be. Because goodness grief, I basically just put myself on that table and made myself vulnerable to everyone that just tasted my food. Props go out to my menu team, Alex and Melpo, because sometimes, guidance, patience and understanding is also needed in a menu process!

You see. As chefs, we put ourselves on a plate. We want to create a memory for you. We want you to walk away with a feeling, a sensation. That sensation is one that stays with you. The memory lasts. Remember the first time you ate something that blew your mind? Can you associate the smell, the taste, the texture. Can you take yourself back to how you felt? Was it happiness? Were you content? Did it forever change the way you looked at that certain food? On the flip, can you remember tasting some that you didn’t like, and how that made you feel?

Food forever remains such a THING. We are always going to need it, we are always going to crave it. This makes my job easier, because it will always be in demand. BUT, we want it fresh, flavorsome, inventive. We want to be able to recall that first bite, that first taste, that first goose bump moment. We want to try to recreate it, to capture it in a bubble, to make it last.

That is the heart of it. That’s what gets me pumped and excited and enthusiastic. That’s what makes me love what I do



When life gets in the way 

When life gets in the way 

Whoa! So I haven’t been on here for the longest time! If you know me, you would find that strange, but you would also know that I’m back in industry and the hours of work are insane. I’m at a point now where wearing anything but a chefs jacket is such a pleasure that I get excited to just be able to go to the mall (which I’m not a fan of in general) 

Besides that, my days are still filled with the hustle and bustle of trying to make a name for myself, fill an Instagram, take good food photos, create recipes and manage to get some sleep. 

The recipes haven’t stopped, and the creative process is a daily occurrence, but I just have not had the time to sit, construct, and photograph for this little blog of mine. 

I looked at my Instagram the other day, and realized that it’s filled with other people’s/places food, and thought that my name should rather be “Food With Jill” and not “Food By Jill” 


Life is busy and I’m still out and about experiencing new things, tasting new dishes, being invited to events and launches and trying to be a cool person! 🙂 

What I do know is that, being a chef, is still very much what makes my heart happy. 

Everything that is food is what makes my pulse race, it sets my senses on edge, and it creates those endorphins that one might get when sky diving or finishing a hectic gym session (speaking of, I need to make time to get my ass in shape) 

So, I pledge (more to myself) that I will not forget about this platform that I have created, I will load more recipes (one again) and photos, because the followers and feedback that I got (once upon a time) actually did make me feel special and knowing that someone else (possibly you who is reading this) could take my recipe and recreate it in your own home! (That’s ridiculously cool) 

❤️ Jill