Chef Staff Interview - Jeannette Stefan-Ozga
1. Where were you born?
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
2. Did you always know you wanted to be a chef?
No, I actually earned a degree in Interior Design as a first Career, I discovered my passion for cooking through doing it as a hobby.
3. What was your first kitchen job?
At a Japanese Restaurant here in Miami.
4. Who do you consider to be your most influential culinary mentor/teacher?
I have 2 chefs that impacted me early on in my career. Chef Peter James who helped me discovered leadership skills I did not even know I had in me. The other one is Master Chef Robert Nograd, who has been an inspiration to me, teaching me that obstacles in life only happen if we let them become one.
5. What is the oddest ingredient or meal you have ever had?
6. Have you ever cooked for someone famous?
Yes. I was hired as the personal Chef for Giada DiLaurentis, Bobby Flay, Tyler Florence, Alton Brown and Paula Deen during one of their filming events in Miami. I have also filmed episodes with Bobby Flay for his Throwdown Series.
7. Do you cook at home? What do you have in your refrigerator?
I cook at home at least 5 nights a week. I always keep a well stock refrigerator and pantry with a selection that allows me to make a quick home cooked meal without having to run to the grocery store everyday.
8. Any memorable kitchen disasters?
Oh Boy! when I was 12 I was experimenting with baking, the cake didn't work out, since I had done it against the nanny's will I hid it and threw it over the fence to our neighbors huge yard.... to my dismay, the neighbor picked up all the pieces of what he called "poison for my dog" and brought it over to my house to complain. Needless to say I was grounded for a long time!!
9. Speaking of disasters…what beverage or cocktail do you like to unwind with?
Nothing like a good Pinot to just relax and enjoy.
10. What is your favorite dessert?
I can't resist a good bread pudding!!