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Chef Bernard A. James hosting pageant to honor late wife

Celebrity chef takes stand for late loved one

Family is above everything for Chef Bernard A. James.

Soon, he’ll host a fundraising pageant in Los Angeles to honor his late wife. Recently,y James stopped b to discuss it all.

What is going on with you, chef?

Chef has launched the Miss Caribbean Los Angeles pageant, the first pageant in that style. There will be a red carpet event on June 1, the first day of June, which is Caribbean Heritage Month, Cancer Research Month, and Cancer Survivors Month.

I lost my wife in 2009 to lymphoma cancer. So I teamed up with the lymphoma nonprofit from New York to put on this Miss Caribbean Los Angeles, where some of the proceeds will be going towards cancer research for lymphoma, finding the cure.

Sorry for your loss. With your life and unique career path, what is one piece of advice you can give to anyone before entering a career?

Before you enter anything, you have to love what you’re doing.

When you love what you’re doing, it becomes so easy. It’s not work. It’s just a joy doing what you do. That’s why you have to love it first. Don’t jump in overboard and you can’t swim. If you can swim, then jump overboard. If you love something, it becomes easy and such a joy for you.

 Who have been some of your celebrity clients?

Moving to L.A., [my celebrity client list has] totally changed. [I worked with] Robert Christopher Riley, [and did] T.I.’s anniversary. I did some stuff at Jamie Foxx’s house. [I’ve cooked for] Kyrie Irving, Christina Milian and many more.

What did T.I. have?

Stuffed red snapper.

Christina Milian?

Ackee and shellfish. She said it reminded her of her home of Cuba.

What does the typical spread look like?

Usually, when I get a client who wants catering, I submit 10 different things, they pick for me, and that’s how I go from there.

Was Kyrie vegan at the time you cooked for him, and if so, what did you make for him?

I have a curry pumpkin, garbanzo beans and potatoes [dish]. I have a jerk cauliflower. I also have a steamed butternut squash stuffed with ackee…

What does balancing a meal with taste and health look like?

Food is an art.

… If it’s your birthday, and you call me to do something for your birthday, I want to know what’s your color? What’s your taste? What do you like?

From there, I’m going to come up with my dishes for the flavor and have it to suit you. What’s your palate going to enjoy? I 100% know my guests are going to enjoy the food. That’s what I go for all the time.

How do you keep dishes healthy?

In the culinary arts right now, a lot of people stay away from the oil.

Most of the stuff that I am using is grilling or a little bit of oil. Just to start it off because you don’t want anything to stick in the pot or anything. Most of the stuff I do is grilling. The salmon is grilled. The jerk chicken is grilled. That’s how I keep it.

Even our patties are baked. It’s not like an empanada, where you fry it, just to keep it on the healthy side.

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