Chef Jen was born and raised in a small south Texas town near Austin that is known for its brewery (Shiner, TX). However, she’s not a stereotypical Texas gal. Her accent is surprisingly non-regional (until after a few Shiners) and her ginger hair always stood out among the sea of blonde and brunette hair in town. Raised on a pecan orchard, she had the opportunity to raise cattle and pigs growing up and has a very strong relationship with food and where it comes from.
As a bribe to make ornery adolescent Jennifer behave during dentist appointments her mother would offer to take her to eat Chinese food. If she learned all of her spelling words, mom would let Jen have pie for breakfast. Chef Jen can’t remember not being interested in food, but it was while living in New York that she was creating her 1st gourmet meals.
Jen has traveled quite a bit and in New York she worked as a local production company’s office manager (during September 11th we might add). It was there that she discovered gourmet cuisine and elevated her own cooking. Her first apartment in Sunset Park, Brooklyn fostered the idea of “Gourmet Meals in Crappy Little Kitchens.” Personality not being conducive to sitting at a desk, Chef Jen decided to start over. In 2003, she went back to Texas, got a job as a dishwasher, and enrolled in culinary school. Almost 10 years later, she’s still young, but has worked as an executive chef, a pastry chef, a culinary professor and a published cook book author (“Gourmet Meals in Crappy Little Kitchens”).