Let’s Eat and catch up with Celebrity Chef Jamika

Celebrity Chef Jamika Pessoa. Photo credit: Instagram @chefjamika

Celebrity Chef Jamika Pessoa is one of the fresh, new, and popular personalities on the Food Network.

Viewers fell in love with the Atlanta, Georgia native when she appeared in season 5 of the Next Food Network Star.  She made it to final three, but didn’t take home the coveted, first place title. However, she left an indelible impression on so many, including Iron Chef Michael Simon who said “she naturally lights up a screen.”

The executives at the Food Network agreed and tapped her to be a regular contributor on the show Best Thing I Ever Ate, and to serve as a judge on several popular Food Network show like Clash of the Grandmas, Chopped Jr. and Ultimate Summer Cook-off.

Chef Jamika is currently  lighting up the screen in a brand new Food Network endeavor. The most exciting part of the new project is that it’s on a screen that is as close as your smart phone or tablet.

The new show is called Let’s Eat. Chef Jamika shares co-hosting duties with food and lifestyle expert Brandi Milloy, and celebrity and professional chef Stuart O’Keeffe.

Let’s Eat is a 13-episode Food Network app digital series which takes a contemporary and sometimes whimsical look at food from the hosts’ point of view and through the lens of social media. The recipes are original creations developed by the hosts and the show also features the latest food fads, restaurant tends, and time-saving food hacks. Each episode has lively interaction between the hosts which make viewers feel as if they are cooking right along with them in the kitchen.

On the Let’s Eat set. From left to right: Celebrity and professional chef Stuart O’Keeffe, Celebrity Chef Jamika Pessoa and lifestyle expert Brandi Milloy. Photo credit: Food Network Youtube Channel.

The look and feel of show inarguable attracts millenniums, as it showcases trendy dishes and encourages social media engagement. But it truly targets an audience that have come to rely on their hand held digital devices, along with a array of apps,  for on-demand content in their 24/7 lifestyles. That audience includes, well – most of us. Let’s Eat meets that need and provides engaging content and recipes that are simple to make and on the table without a lot of fuss.

“I would describe it as the most delicious and fun 20 minutes you will experience on your digital device,” said Chef Jamika. “We have dishes for single people, families, holidays and special events. The recipes are easy and include store bought items as well as recipes made from scratch. They are fun,  affordable, and created to make you look like a professional chef.”

She’s absolutely right.

Chef Jamika’s Blue cheese, aged rib-eye steak. Photo credit: Food Network app.

In episode 1, Chef Jamika wowed visitors and viewers with her impressive, droll-worthy, blue cheese, aged rib-eye steak. She infused aged steakhouse flavor into the rib eye with a surprising food hack people are still talking about.

“So many people tagged me and said they had never thought about making a steak that way, but they made it because they saw the show. And now they see it’s not so difficult,” said Chef Jamika. “Cooking doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. You don’t have to go to culinary school to feel like a chef in the kitchen.”

Left: Parmesan crusted chicken tenders. Right. Chicken tenders transformed into Chicken Picatta. Photo credit: Food Network app.

In episode 9, she dazzles us with her “kiddy plate to dinner date” recipe. In this show she makes Parmesan crusted chicken do double duty as chicken tenders for the kids, and Chicken Picatta for the grown-ups.

It’s undeniable that Chef Jamika brings a lot of style and grace to the show. Her effervescent personality and clever one-liners make her the life of the party.  Her makeup and wardrobe are on point and add to the brilliance of her personality.

Chef Jamika on the set of Let’s Eat. Photo credit: Instagram @chefjamika.

Living in her truth and embracing her personal style and culinary perspective is something Chef Jamika is  very comfortable with. She admits it hasn’t always been that way. She says time and experience have been the best teachers.

“I’ve learned over the years that once you get to that point when you know who you are and what you bring to the table, you have to be confidant and stand in your own truth,” said Chef Jamika.

It’s this very attitude that has made her one of the Food Network’s most popular celebrity chefs. Let’s Eat gives visitors and viewers a chance to see her passion for cooking and her cheerleadering spirit.

“I want people to leave the show thinking wow, I can do that! I not only want to inspire you to make the recipes, I want to inspire you to purse your dreams and passion,” said Chef Jamika as she reminisced about her Food Network journey. “Yes, I am chef and my goal is to get people cooking one meal at a time. But my ultimate calling is to feed people’s souls.”

Chef Jamika on location, trying out a new food trend. Photo credit: Food Network Youtube Channel.

Let’s Eat has a little something for everyone from appetizers, desserts and entrees to the most Instagramable foods. And Chef Jamika says that if visitors and viewers make one of her recipes and tags it #letseat, she just might will give them a shout out.

“Grateful is the word written on my heart,” said Chef Jamika.  “To get to this place and have people support you and wish you well, you just can’t ask for anything more than that.”

Chef Jamika shares her Quick Sausage and Seafood Stew recipe from episode 11. This tasty, hearty stew looks like it takes all day to make, but its on the table in just under an hour.

Make sure to check out all the episodes on Let’s Eat, which can be viewed by downloading the Food Network app from iTunes and  Goggle Play. From the Food Network app just type Let’s Eat in the search bar and get cooking.

Follow Chef Jamika on Instagram @chefjamika, Facebbook at chefjamika, and Twitter at @ChefJamika

Quick Sausage and Seafood Stew

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Recipe credit: Chef Jamika, Food Network app.


Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sausage (turkey, beef, pork or andouille), cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 cup diced onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 cups chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces skinless cod or tilapia fillets, cut into large pieces
8 ounces peeled and deveined medium or large shrimp, tail off
8 ounces mussels, frozen or fresh
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
Cooked rice, for serving, optional

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the sausage and saute until beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the onions, celery and bell pepper and cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, corn, Worcestershire sauce and red pepper flakes and cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth and 2 cups water and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 8 minutes.
  2. Season with salt and pepper. Add the fish and seafood to the pot and stir well. Cover and cook just until the shrimp are opaque and the mussels are open, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cilantro to finish.
  3. Serve the stew in bowls garnished with additional cilantro. If serving with rice, spoon about 1/2 cup cooked rice in the center of each bowl first, then top with the stew.
    Cook’s Note
  4. Make this dish more or less extravagant by adding higher end seafood or lower end frozen seafood. This stew is great served with toasted garlic bread.

Quick Sausage and Seafood Stew. Photo credit: Food Network app.

Holiday cooking tips from Celebrity Chef Jamika Pessoa

Chef Jamika Pessoa. Photo credit: Chef Jamika.

Chef Jamika Pessoa is one of my favorite celebrity chefs.

This Atlanta resident built a wildly successful catering business and garnered the title “Chef to the Stars,” because of her  A-list of loyal clients in entertainment and sports.

Chef Jamika has serious culinary chops. She graduated from the International Culinary Schools at the Art Institute of Atlanta and studied in several European countries.

It was her appearance on season 5 of The Next Food Network Star that we saw her beauty, brilliance, creativity, talent and skilled execution as she competed down to the final rounds in the competition.

Chef Jamika in action. Photo credit: Chef Jamika.

Today this culinary entrepreneur makes regular appearances on shows like The Chew, The Today Show, the Cooking Channel, and the Food Network. She is among the bright lights in the culinary world and a leading subject matter expert in meal planning and entertaining at home.

Clash of the Grandama’s judges and host Cameron Mathison (top). Left to right: Lifestyle expert and POPSUGAR.com Reporter/Producer Brandi Milloy; former NFL player and Food Network star Eddie Jackson; and Food Network Star;Celebrity Chef and Television personality Jamika Pessoa. Photo credit: Chef Jamika.

I had the opportunity to meet Chef Jamika last year when I was contestant on the Food Network Show Clash of the Grandma’s.  She was as amazing judge filled with charm, personality, insightful and didactic critiques that not only elevated my culinary perspective but helped me become a more descriptive food writer.

Thanks chef!

Chef Jamika to the rescue

With the holiday season in full throttle, you undoubtedly are planning your holiday menu or soiree. If not, it has certainly crossed your mind a time or two. This can be overwhelming, even for fairly competent cooks like me.

I sent out an SOS to Chef Jamika and she was gracious enough to provide a few practical  planning and cooking tips to help allay this seasonal anxiety so you can enjoy the holiday season. She even shares an amazing recipe for a  Herb Crusted Prime Rib that the carnivores in your life are sure to love.  It’s at the end of the story.

Wait. I think I heard a somewhat inaudible “whew – thank you Ms. Collard Greens and Caviar.” And to that I say –  you are very welcome!

Make sure to visit her site at http://www.chefjamika.com/recipes/ for more mouth-watering  recipes and please follow her on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook  to keep up with her amazing culinary journey.

Without any futher yadda yadda and pithy prose, the following is offered courtesy of the illustrious Chef Jamika.

As families begin to plan holiday gatherings, the worry of preparing the food always seems to rest on the “head chef” of the family. With that in mind, here are some helpful tips designed to make the meal preparation a special and stress free one.

Plan ahead.   There are benefits to being prepared before a big meal. Organizing yourself will mean a smooth transition from start to finish. Purchase food items as far in advance as possible. Waiting until the last minute does not mean that you will get fresher produce or meats. This only means that you will get items that are picked over and of less quality and taste.

Prep dishes in advance by freezing casseroles and pre-seasoned meats. On the day of the meal, all you have to do is bake them. This will save time and storage space in the refrigerator.

Also, if you are serving hors d’ oeuvres, have them prepped  and as the guests arrive you simply pop them in the oven. Hot and fresh hors d’ oeuvres will buy you some time as the remainder of the meal is still cooking. You never want a room full of hungry guests.

Cook what you like. Who ever said that you have to serve turkey or ham for the holidays? Change things up a bit by preparing dishes that you and your family enjoy the most. Try debuting some of those recipes you have collected over the year, but never tried.

Here is a fun suggestion; before you go shopping, have the kids research recipes they want to see on the table. Make this year’s menu a contributive effort from each family member. Moreover, having family favorites on the table will pay off when it comes time to eating leftovers.

Get the whole family involved. Since the holidays are about family, make cooking time quality time. Create kitchen task lists for each person to complete. While you supervise the entire operation, have dad and the kids measure out ingredients, clean vegetables, or even wash dishes. Each person can proudly present his or her involvement in the meal at the table.

Do not be embarrassed to hire out. Take some of the pressure off of yourself by hiring a professional catering company or a personal chef for the day. The meal will have just as much meaning, without a lot of the hassle. Private companies and chefs book fast around this time, so make sure you place your order in time.

If private catering is not in your budget, your can still seek help outside of your kitchen. Instead of making everything from scratch, try purchasing your breads, side dishes, and desserts from the local bakery or specialty shop. The best way to enjoy a meal is to have someone else do the work.

Get creative with leftovers. There is more to leftovers than sandwiches and soups. Get creative! Take those candied yams, mash them and make a sweet potato soufflé. Try using the cranberry sauce to make cranberry muffins.

Check out her delicious recipe for Herb Crusted Prime Rib. Chef Jamika says your guests will go crazy when you bring this to the table.

Herb Crusted Prime Rib

  • Servings: 8 to 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Recipe courtesy of Chef Jamika Pessoa

Ingredients

8 cloves of garlic
½ cup parsley leaves
¼ cup fresh thyme leaves, stem removed
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
4-6 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup water
1 bone-in rib roast (prime rib), 8-10 pounds

Directions

  1. Position oven rack on the lowest level and preheat to 450 degrees. Place the garlic, parsley, thyme, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process into a coarse paste.
  2. Coat outside of rib roast generously with olive oil. Smear the paste over the top and sides of the rib roast. Place the roast bone-side down (fat side up) in a heavy roasting pan. Add cup of water to pan and place in the pre-heated oven.
  3. Roast at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue roasting for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until a thermometer with the tip inserted to the center of the roast reaches 125 degrees.
  4. Transfer the roasted prime rib to a serving platter, and let rest for 15-20 minutes.

A special way to end the evening is to share your blessings with someone else and give leftover portions to those in the neighborhood or at your local church who are less fortunate.

Holidays should be a time of giving and spending time with family. Make this holiday an impressive one by being prepared. Plan down to the smallest detail so that the day is one filled with fond memories and not piles of dirty dishes.