We had the good fortune of connecting with Justin Jackson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Justin, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Growing up in the small country town of Cleveland, Texas, there wasn’t too many outlets for individuals of the creative and artistic side to express themselves. I was always taught to get a good paying job and build from there, not to follow my dreams and seek a career that would makes me happy in the long run. Growing up in a community like this builds decades of condition learned behaviors that will end up generational curses. You end up doing something that you truly don’t love and look back and years have passed and you beat yourself up because you never truly followed your dreams. And I didn’t want to be that person to have regrets that will carry into my future.
Me pursuing my dreams of being a chef hasn’t by far been the easiest. I have pleaded with family for them to see not only the lucrative side of being a chef but all the perks and outlets that it opens not only for me but the community and generation to come. I come from a family of nurses, lawyers, teachers and scientist so, you can imagine how much I was pressured to choose a professional career like such.
Choosing the route of being a chef was not only for my love of food but, the creative outlet that is gives you to display your artistry on that blank canvas called a plate. It has allowed me to see food and nature in another light. The joy that you feel when you have a client who has a vision and you can bring that to life for the through food is amazing. Food in my family is one thing that brought us all together no matter what the occasion was. You could feel the room full of love and laughter one dish at a time. Being from the south and of African American decent, good food is like healing. The best medication when your sick, having a bad day or grieving the lost of a love one.
I want to continue sharing my talents and crafts with the world and let children who grew up like me to know that it’s okay to be different and not go the normal route to achieve success and happiness. Any outlet that you choose to make a career out of rather it is being a postal worker to a chef. It’s all about living and loving the journey that you embark on and doing it to the fullest that your heart desires.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
So J3plus Cookin is all about that Southern/Cajun flair on dishes. I love to fuse different cultures’ ways of cooking with southern staples and let the flavors take you over! What sets me apart from others I believe is my creativity and passion to constantly keep learning and not being afraid of trying new things and thinking outside the box. I am most proud of not giving up on pursuing my dreams and constantly pushing myself to greater
Getting to the position that I’m in today was by far not easy and I still have a journey to go. I’ve overcome things by trial and error. I don’t limit myself on what I can achieve and I push myself daily to strive for better. Some days are better than others but I don’t let that defeat me. I continue to give everything 100%. I learned that you will never know how or what you can achieve until you really strive for it and give it your all. Out of 1 million no’s all you need is that right yes to skyrocket you to another part of success. Not the measure of anyone else’s success but your own.
I want the world to know that my brand is organically built on hard work and dedication. Everything I have achieved so far has been at the sweat and tears of my own. I hope that my story gives hope to all entrepreneur’s that no matter your circumstances, you are in charge of your own story and the way it is written and don’t ever let the ways of the world dim your light!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
So being that I’m still fairly new to Denver I’m still learning the hot spots. I would first take them for some flavor fill chicken and waffles at “Waffle Brothers” or “Four Friends Kitchen” to start the day off right! Then we can follow the afternoon with a relaxing picnic made by me of course at “Cherry Creek Lake” or gaze at the beautiful flowers at “Botanical Gardens Denver”. Ended off the night at “Welton Room” with their exquisite cocktails. My favorite one is the “Golden Dragon” and “Paradise Island”. Who needs a big dinner when you have good cocktails!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to give a shoutout to my mommy for always believing in me and letting me find my own way in this world and doing what makes me happy. My grandparents, who gave me my first taste of the culinary experience. My grandfather was known for his famous pancakes and my grandmother was an exceptional baker. My sister is my #1 supporter. We are a year apart but everyone thinks we are twins but she is by far my backbone and whatever I do she is right there cheering me on. Last but not least My mentor, Kandis the owner of “Expensive Taste Catering”. She found me at a very dark time where I wanted to just give up on my culinary career. She groomed me and taught me the business and how to look at every opportunity. I am SO thankful for her because she helped me fall back in love with being a Chef and showed me how to trust in my craft and it will light the path for me to greatness!