Do you love cooking? Is your TV always on the Food Network’s TV? Then you must know of Chef Andre Fowles. The Quintessential Gentleman spoke with Chef Andre Fowles a winner of the hit tv show Chopped. He talks about the “Chopped” experience, Jamaica pride and what we can look forward to.
QG: When was the first time you realized you wanted to be a chef?
AF: I realized I wanted to become a chef when I use to assist my grandmother cooking family meals back home in Jamaica.
QG: Do you have a chef you look up to? If so, what about that person motivated you?
AF: That is Iron Chef Michael Symon. He is the chef I look up to and try to be like. I admire his simple but bold way he cooks and the way how he uses his culture and upbringing to inspire his style of cooking. For me that’s the chef who inspires me.
QG: What was your experience with being on Food Network’s Chopped?
AF: My experience on CHOPPED was life changing in some many ways. I was grateful for the opportunity to showcase my skills and represent my country on such a grand stage. The experience cooking in the CHOPPED kitchen was challenging to say the least however that competitive environment pushed me to do things that I have never done before.
QG: Who were you most nervous to cook for?
AF: Most definitely Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, I am a big fan of her style of cooking and her approach to food and besides that she is a fierce judge so I really wanted to go above and beyond to impress her, which I did! Thank GOD!
Q: Can you think of an obstacle on the show you had to face?
AF: The baskets ingredients in the championship tournament. I received three sweet items for my appetizer round, one included vanilla frosting so I had to push myself to create and execute a dish to balance the sweetness of the ingredients. I made Thai soup and dumplings and the judges love it.
QG: Were there benefits to you being a Jamaican Native that make you stand out over other chefs?
AF: No benefits, however I felt the pressure representing Jamaica in the Caribbean theme episode. As you may know Jamaica is a very proud country especially when its regarding our cuisine so I felt obligated to take the championship back to Jamaica.
QG: Do you have any interests in opening up your own restaurant?
AF: Most definitely. Its most chefs dream to own and operate a restaurant and for me that’s one of my major goals to accomplish.
QG: What is your favorite dish to cook? What is your favorite food to eat?
AF: I love showing my style and concept of cooking, so every opportunity I get I introduce “Light Clean Caribbean Cuisine” for example: “curry shrimp gnocchi with coconut cream”. My Favorite food to eat is very traditional, “Oxtail and rice and peas”
QG: If you can give advice to a young chef, what would you it be?
AF: No matter the obstacles and the challenges you face throughout your life always think positive and keep focus. Try to express your passion through your cooking and never stop learning!
QG: If you weren’t cooking, what would you be doing?
AF: A Doctor (pediatrician). I have always loved food and science and had serious thoughts of pursuing a medical degree.
QG: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
AF: Owning and operating my catering company while traveling and experiencing the world of food that’s out there and taking Caribbean cuisine to new heights.
QG: Do you travel back to Jamaica? Are you apart of any non-profits or community service organizations?
A: I do travel back to Jamaica. I always visit where I grew up and give motivational speeches and try to give back to the community anyway I can. I am in the process of starting my own foundation which will be about providing better education facilities to assist the less fortunate children in the Down Town Kingston Jamaica community.