I had the pleasure of interviewing Chef Wenford Patrick Simpson who is notorious for his flavorful fusion of Caribbean spices and Southern American cooking with flair. The Jamaican born culinary talent kick-started his professional career as a high school intern at Club Caribbean hotel, soon after he worked in kitchens all over the island, predominantly at resorts. Since relocating to the United States, he has been affiliated with several upscale hotspots in New York City including BB King’s, Highline Ballroom Blue Note, and currently holds a position as executive chef at Sony Hall. As a representative of Jamaica, Chef Patrick creates uniquely inspired dishes developed through the exploration of the culinary arts with a dash of flavor drawn from life experiences.
His talents have are highlighted on cooking shows including Cook-Up with Chef Patrick on TEMPO TV, Inna di Kitchen on CIN TV, and now Cooking with Love on CEEN TV, plus he is sharing his favorite recipes and techniques in his latest cookbook. As a brand ambassador for Walkerswood Caribbean Foods, the chef has had the opportunity to travel and network. He’s hosted a VMFA Influencer Brunch, been featured at Caribbean Week Rum & Rhythm plus the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival in Queens, and the South Beach Mango Fest in Miami. Not only can he throw down in the kitchen, Chef Patrick also specializes in ice sculpture carving, culinary writing, and has cooked for some very famous names including former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Chef Patrick faced many struggles related to food scarcity as a youth, and this time in his life led to a great appreciation for spices in general and inspired him to make a line of cooking flavorings and other accessories. He often integrates health and wellness into his work, as well as philanthropic causes particularly in his hometown of Ocho Rios. His expanding empire includes a world-renowned motivational tour to schools, colleges, and career institutes to speak to the youth and students of all ages, plus plans for a culinary school to launch in Jamaica in July 2019. Chef Patrick makes a point to highlight the link between the mental and emotional state of our communities, and nourishment, as well as to give others an opportunity.
Can you share with our readers a story about what inspired you to become a chef?
I was inspired to become a chef from out of poverty. I always wanted food when I was growing up. Food was never at home so I find the love and the passion to create whatever I could find to cook for me and my sister.
Do you have a specialty? If so, what drew you to that type of food?
I like working with the fresh herbs and spices and seafood.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you became a chef?
There were so many great things that happened to me but it’s hard to pinpoint one probably cooking for the Obamas and Miss Hillary Clinton basically every night is a special night because it’s always something new.
What is your definition of success?
My definition for success is never to give up, try and try again, and when you make it open doors of opportunity for someone else to follow in your footstep.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
My drive to continue comes from within one word that I always use failure is never an option.
What are your “5 Things or advice would give to anyone interested in becoming a chef” and why?
- Practice to have patience. Being a chef is not about rushing to get it done it’s about getting it right.
- Punctuality is very important as you don’t want to be late for a catering.
- Respect each other that you work with.
- Being a chef you’re always on call like a fireman on your way who is getting ready to go home. You may eventually have to do a double shift if someone doesn’t show up.
- Always try for perfection if it doesn’t look good, smell good, taste good, do not send it out to your customers.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
Yes I am working on opening my restaurant and the launch of my cookbook “Cooking with Love.”
If you could talk to your younger self, what advice would you give him and why?
Wow if I could speak to my younger self my advice would be believe in yourself, everything is going to be fine, surround yourself with the right people, be careful of the people you let in your circle.
In your experience, what is the key to creating the perfect dish?
To create a perfect dish you must have good taste buds and presentation. Always strive for perfection and attention to detail.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Motivate and inspire is something that I always try to do because the future generation they need someone to tell them it’s going to be okay for them to believe in themselves and push them to fight one more day.
If you could meet any chef living or no longer with us who would it be and why?
If I could meet one particular Chef it would be Gordon Ramsay because I can see some of my qualities in him always pushing people to be their best and strive for perfection.
How can our readers reach/follow you on social media?
On Instagram: @chefwsimpson
My website: http://www.chefwenfordpsimpson.com/welcome
Source:Authority Magazine-Alexandra Spirer