Top Chef: Jessica Jacobs, Town Square Cafe & Bakery

Jessica Jacobs, 34, hails from Saucier, where she grew up with four sisters and two brothers. She attended Jeff Davis Community College. Her cheesecake won a bronze medal at the American Culinary Federation Culinary Classic in 2008.

 

What’s one ingredient that you can't live without?

Strawberries

 

What’s your favorite type of music to listen to when cooking?

I’m surrounded by noise in the restaurant all day, so when I bake, I prefer silence. I find it soothing.

 

If you could cook for anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?

Maggie Gyllenhaal

 

What’s your favorite ethnic cuisine?

Thai

 

What’s the strangest request you’ve ever had from a diner?

Chocolate-covered watermelon. He really liked it, but I politely declined a taste.

 

What’s the best part about being a chef?

Since I was a child, cooking has been my way of caring for others. I show my love for my community by offering fresh, nourishing food. As an artistic person, devising recipes gives me the opportunity to exercise my creativity. Last but not least, I get to wear an awesome chef coat!

 

What’s the most challenging part of being a chef?

The long hours and time away from family and friends.

 

If not a chef in the Pine Belt, what city would you like to work in?

I would love to work at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco.

 

Who is/was your food mentor?

My mother. I grew up in a large family, and at a young age, I developed a passion for cooking. My mother was the person I could go to with questions about finding recipes and explaining cooking techniques. She painted pictures of spices and labeled them for me, even listing what they tasted like and how they could flavor a dish.

 

What’s your favorite “guilty pleasure” food?

Malbec

 

What’s your favorite food to cook?

Paella

 

Sweet or savory?

Savory

 

Mild or spicy?

Spicy

 

Wine or beer?

Wine

 

Salt or pepper?

Pepper

 

Red beans or gumbo?

Gumbo

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