David ‘Rose’ to culinary fame
Chef of J’can descent débuts recipe book
Cooking is love made visible. In the case of Chef David Rose, cooking is love made incredibly palatable. Since his recent rise to culinary fame overseas, the Jamaican descendant is now filled with excitement over his upcoming recipe book, which will take readers and cooks on a delicious Jamaican food journey.
“Jamaicans cook with seasoning. But it’s more than just salt and pepper; it’s the herbs, it’s the Scotch bonnet pepper, it’s the coconut milk, and it’s the peas. It’s just love, and it’s so flavourful. To me, Jamaican food is the best food in the world because it is a huge melting pot of diverse food. It’s so delicious!” Rose told Food. Name dropping local favourites like jerked chicken, fried fish, roasted breadfruit, ackee and salt fish, stew peas, curried goat and oxtail, you would think that Rose was a born and bred yardie.
Well, here’s a fun fact: he is actually from New Jersey. And growing up, he held the title as the only family member in his household to not be born in Jamaica. Rose did, however, connect with his roots at every opportunity, mainly during the summer holidays. In his heart, he feels right at home and at peace with the people, the culture, and of course, the food.
Being the son of chef parents only solidified this path. “My mother was a chef at a nursing home, and my father was a chef at a monastery, Ranaut; they’d always bring me to work, and it would always amaze me how they’d take raw ingredients, vegetables, grains and make these big meals for hundreds of people. I was mesmerised by how the kitchen worked,” Rose said. He could always cook, but he left the magic created between flames to his immediate and extended family.
His mother is one of 13; his father is one of nine; and Rose is one of eight. With his relatives having children and all settling down in the tri-state area, they were famous for hosting big family cookouts. “Everything was ‘bashment’. My family loved to cook, and I grew up around great food and great chefs,” he added. As a foodie, he enjoyed the euphoric taste of authentic herbs and spices explored in a myriad of tantalising dishes, and attributes his cooking success to having a knack for flavour profiling due to his own experiences over the years. Simply put: his Jamaican heritage had a direct influence on his culinary skills. But he wasn’t yet set on this path.
Adventurous by nature, he made a stop in the drinks department, setting his sights on bartending. After seeing the commercial encouraging potential students to realise their culinary dreams, something clicked, and he soon found himself where he belonged, attending Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta, Georgia. It was love at first ‘site’. “Every day, I looked forward to getting up at the crack of dawn, experimenting, testing and just soaking up all the knowledge on the basics of cooking and how to create.” Even while at culinary school, he brought his love for Jamaican food, seasoning and preparations into play. So with a traditional Italian or French dish, there was always a Jamaican or Caribbean spice or twist in the mix. This, he believes, is what sets him apart as a chef: his love for bringing the heat with an infusion of island spices.
After graduating, he rose to culinary stardom and has since celebrated a thriving career as a television personality and celebrity chef. Making several appearances on talk shows, in magazines and on the hottest international cooking station, Food Network, he was a finalist on season 13 of ‘Food Network Star’, where he engaged in a heated matchup with American chef and restaurateur Bobby Flay.
The Omaha Steaks executive chef and spokesperson and international brand ambassador for popular companies like Nissan USA and Big Green Egg, Chef Rose’s collaborative efforts saw him gearing up to première his first recipe book, EGGin’: David Rose cooks on the Big Green Egg. Set to hit bookshelves and a kitchen near you in October, the recipe book will feature his culinary techniques and influences garnered and honed over two decades. Because he loves cooking outdoors, it made sense that his first cookbook focus on grilling. Reigning at the top of that list are recipes representing the beautiful island of Jamaica.
“You can find a jerk chicken, a curried goat, an oxtail, and a rum and raisin bread pudding recipe in there. This book gives me the opportunity to bring Jamaican food to a wider audience. And to show them that it is not as complex as they think. It’s just about the seasoning, preparation and method. A lot of people are afraid of cooking. So I try to break things down and simplify it. Anybody can do it, as long as they get the ingredients and follow the instructions,” he said. He, too, cooks with a lot of love and strongly recommends that this approach be taken as well.
For more information on Chef David Rose, visit his website at chefdavidrose.com .