AN INTERVIEW WITH CHEF GASON YEN NELSON

“Being a Great Chef in this culinary game you have to stay motivated, passionate, energetic and driven to succeed. Every morning I start the day with prayer, meditation and a workout to clear my mind and align my spirit with intention and purpose. Then I set out to conquer the world!”

 

BTCF: What does it mean to you to be a Chef?  What does that look like for you?

CHEF GASON: It means being creative and having a clean canvas to create culinary art. Being able to educate people about the food and making them excited about what they are eating.

BTCF: Let’s go even further what is a Chef?

CHEF GASON: A chef is someone who has free run with your palate, but also must deliver on taste and an unforgettable culinary experience.

BTCF: What is your food philosophy?

CHEF GASON: I believe in respecting all food, being open minded about what I eat and learning as much as I can about food daily.

BTCF: You have said “Food has a powerful presence, even a personality”.  Can you explain what you mean by that?

CHEF GASON: Food speaks to you in its own way. When prepared properly it can make you feel a certain way. Whether it’s hot, cold, spicy, sour and so on.

BTCF: Plating is such an art form.  What does that mean?

CHEF GASON: It’s a canvas for you to express yourself. You can take it anywhere you want it to go, because there are NO culinary boundaries. Plating requires that you use your imagination.

BTCF: Being such a highly accomplished Chef, your ideas and imagination are endless when it comes to plating.  Can you elaborate on this?

CHEF GASON: Let your imagination go. The possibilities are endless and there is no right or wrong to do it. HAVE FUN and watch the magic evolve on the plate.

BTCF: Can you describe a dish that you plated and how it made your clients or customers feel that you were serving?

CHEF GASON: I remember serving fried oysters with shredded beef, and as simple as it sounds it turned out amazing. These clients were from Atlanta and they were saying that they couldn’t see the vision of this dish, but when I placed it in front of them, they were blown away. Like I said before, food is powerful. It all came together, and they ate it all.

BTCF: You make food look like art, is that something that means a lot to you and why?

CHEF GASON: I always aim for perfection in anything I do. I totally respect the ingredients and the preparation process. It all comes together at the end, and it shows on the plate.

BTCF: We live in a “diet culture”.  Does it bother you to hear that and why?

CHEF GASON: It’s doesn’t bother me, because I know that anyone can enjoy food. It’s all about moderation and exercise. I would never put myself in a position where I can’t enjoy what I want to eat. I live by the two words moderation and movement.

BTCF: Being a father of two lovely daughters’ what advice do you give her when it comes to having a good relationship with food?

CHEF GASON: I just tell them to be open minded and try different things. Never overdo it and try your best to always know where your food is coming from.

BTCF: How does it make you feel when you see the happiness you bring to people with your dishes?

CHEF GASON: It truly makes me feel like I am living in my purpose and bringing people joy with the gift GOD gave me.

BTCF: What is one memorable experience you have had that brought you to tears of joy in your career?

CHEF GASON: Honestly this might not be the answer you’re expecting, but it was the year the Saints won the Super Bowl. To know I provided Reggie Bush the proper nourishment he needed to help the Saints bring the City of New Orleans its first Superbowl win was very rewarding.

BTCF: Being from New Orleans, a city known for its southern cooking and hospitality, people look forward to eating delicious dishes.  How do you see this differ from the mindset you see in other big cities and why?

CHEF GASON: New Orleans is full of culture and many different flavors. I’ve had great dining experiences in other cities, but the way we bring out flavors in New Orleans is truly bold and exciting.

BTCF: Loved watching you on the TV show, “Chopped”!  Is it as fun as it looks?!

CHEF GASON: It was fun, but very challenging. You must be on your “A” game when stepping into the Chopped kitchen.

BTCF: You are the private/personal chef/owner and CEO of “Full Of Flavor” in New Orleans.  How did you come to name your business “Full Of Flavor”?  What does that mean to you?

CHEF GASON: Full of Flavor is something that just hit me one day when I was driving, and I said yea that’s it. Thank you, GOD!! To me it’s all about bringing the right flavors together so everything can fall into place the way it’s supposed to.

BTCF: What is one of your favorite festivals you showcased your talent in and why?

CHEF GASON: All the Festivals I’ve participated in have been special, but one that really stands out is the Houston Creole Food Festival. Merging different cultures such as, French, Spanish, Native American and Haitian foods at one event really makes for a great time and a truly successful event. It represents the true meaning of Creole and being a part of it is very special to me.

BTCF: How did food play such a vital role in creating good memories to last a lifetime?

CHEF GASON: It’s hard to forget anything good, so preparing good food will always bring you good memories. I still remember being a kid in Hawaii when my dad and I would smoke these amazing ribs in the back yard.  That’s what I mean when I talk about memories that you can’t forget.

BTCF: You are an advocate for various organizations and have been a guest speaker as well.  Can you share a little bit about a couple of them and what they mean to you?

CHEF GASON: I am heavily involved with the American Cancer Society because of a personal experience I had. I had a son who died of leukemia when he was a year and a half old. That was a traumatic experience for me, and I vowed to help others in any way I could to make their experience with cancer easier to handle. I am also very involved with New Orleans Public Schools. They school system is important to me because my daughters both attended New Orleans Public Schools and as a parent this is my way of giving back. Finally, my involvement with The American Heart Association was born out of a fundraising. That effort has since become an annual much anticipated event.

 

Follow Chef Gason on Instagram @chef_gason

www.chefgason.com

 

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *