Chef Jay Recalls A Favorite Father’s Day Memory, Reflects On The Holiday Taking A New Meaning As A Grandfather

As the countdown to Father’s Day is underway, aspireTV caught up with our very own Chef Jay, host of Twisted Dish, to deeply dive into what fatherhood means to him, being a good example for his children, accepting the challenge of being a single father, and more!

Chef Jay is the father of five boys, noting that their differences make the approach to raising each child unique.

“Each of them having different personalities allows me to see them all in a different light,” he tells aspireTV. “They all possess their own skill sets, which allows me to relate to each of them separately,” Chef Jay continued. “It wasn’t easy being a single father in the military at an early age, but God gave me the assignment and I wasn’t going to turn away from it. I feel like my oldest two helped raise me while I was raising them. Getting them at age 23 was not an easy task at all, but I was up to it. The most rewarding aspect is to look at them now and see how wonderful they all are in their own right.”

The culinary world keeps Chef Jay busy, but nothing comes before his children, which is why he quickly learned the art of having a balance between his responsibilities as both a father and a full-time chef.

“It’s very simple,” he recalled. “The fortunate part is my kids love to cook. It allows for the much-needed conversations to happen over cooking great food, listening to some good music, and spending quality time.” 

He even notes how they’ve taken up an interest in the field themselves, helping him out when he first purchased his food truck.

“They actually worked on the food truck when we first opened. We would do various festivals and we would have an awesome time. Nowadays they just love to come over to eat what Dad has cooked,” Chef Jay explained. “They have developed an interest in their own lanes and I’m their No. 1 supporter. I believe supporting them in what they love to do pushes them even more to be great at it.”

“Our favorite dish to cook together is my seafood boil,” he revealed. “We add everything but the kitchen sink to it.”

What’s more, Chef Jay admits that there are similarities between the work he does in the culinary space and his approach to fatherhood. He shares a lesson or two that being a dad has taught him about his role as both a chef and entrepreneur.

“Success doesn’t happen overnight. You have to have patience and understanding,” said Chef Jay. “There will be failures, but you can’t look at them as such, but more as learning lessons and added wisdom for growth,” he shared.

“The work-life balance should always be family first,” he added. “I am a hard worker and I absolutely love what I do, but the support I have from my family and the time we spend means everything to me. Money is inevitable and will come and go, but family is priceless. The memories you create with loved ones can never be replaced.”

For Chef Jay, one of the most memorable Father’s Day memories includes sitting on the back porch with his dad, drinking whiskey, smoking cigars, and listening to blues music.”

Today, as not only a father but a grandfather as well, Chef Jay says the holiday has a whole new meaning.

“Now that I have a grandson it gives Father’s Day a stronger meaning,” said Chef Jay. “He is my world. To have reached the milestone of being a grandfather now helps me to understand why my parents spoiled their grandkids so much. You can love on them as much as you want and then give them back, haha, such a great feeling!”

His legacy as both a father a chef and a business owner go hand-in-hand.

“As a Chef, I always tell my team to be a sponge, absorb everything connected to your craft in a positive light. Have tough skin and become one percent better every day” Chef Jay recounted. “Everything I teach isn’t just for you now. It’s to make you better as you climb the culinary ladder. I want my legacy as a Chef to be one of not only a great leader but a teacher as well. As a father I want my children to remember despite how long something took me I never gave up. I always completed my goals no matter what. I want to be remembered as a determined, strong-willed, supportive, and loving father. One who isn’t perfect but a perfect me and lastly to always be in my children’s lives no matter the adversity I faced.”

You can get caught up on Twisted Dish with back-to-back episodes on Thursdays starting at 9PM ET. Keep it locked to aspireTV for more stories connecting the culture.