Jermaine Wright is a Personal Chef, Dancer, and Social Media Influencer from southside Jamaica, Queens, NY, now living in the Cap Region. He is self-taught, and learned flavor profiles from being a “fat kid at heart.” He dreamed of being on the Food Network, and was finally given a chance to compete against 8 talented home cooks from across America, on Food Network’s hit television show, All-Star Academy, where he was mentored by celebrity Chef Robert Irvine.
Jermaine was also selected out of hundreds as Remy Martin’s Circle of Centaurs #RemyChef Winner, which landed him an exclusive mentorship with Food Network Iron Chef Marc Forgione. Jermaine now brings his bold flavors and creative concepts into the home, delivering Personal Chef Services for private parties and intimate events. With a fully customized menu, and his knack for putting abstract twists on traditional classics, clients leave with a full belly and a smiling face, earning him the title “King of the 95% Empty Plate Rate!”. Chef Jermaine’s curated culinary experiences take his clients’ taste buds on an unforgettable journey through food porn heaven, each and every time.
Cooking in Quarantine
“Cooking has always been a fiber in my being, and growing up in southside Jamaica, Queens, meant growing up with humble beginnings. I grew up in a single-parent household with three other siblings, and a mother that took care of kids from the block as if they were her own.
So let’s just say I know a thing or two about finding ways to make a meal stretch, and finding creative ways to make something out of nothing. I’m talking everything from gourmet ramen using dollar soups, and using frozen pancakes to make bread pudding, to creating gourmet versions of hot dogs and hamburgers because that’s all the kids in my family were allowed to eat at family gatherings (while all the adults got to indulge in steak, lobster and seafood boils…Can you tell I’m still bitter?). All of that to say, I’ve got this ‘Cooking While Quarantined’ thing down pat, and with these simple recipes, you will too.”
Recipe #1: Curry Chicken (with vegetarian option)
To know me is to know that I love Caribbean food, and LOVE making curry chicken! Something about the Indo-Caribbean flavors and the comfort food nostalgia brings me back to my roots. But with COVID-19, curry chicken has become more than just a taste of my childhood. It’s become a quarantine staple in my kitchen, because it’s PACKED with immune boosting ingredients that naturally help to combat sickness. Thanks to the curry, turmeric, cayenne pepper, thyme and other ingredients, this recipe is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant and may help treat lung and respiratory issues. Cheers to eating on purpose! Check it out!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour and 20 mins
–Skinless Whole Chicken Parts (Bone-In) OR Substitute for Portobello Mushrooms
–Chief Indian Head Curry Powder
– (4) Peeled Potatoes
– (1) Sliced Onion
– (1) Sliced Scotch Bonnet (Habanero) Pepper
– (1) Can of Rinsed Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
1. Get some oil going in a stainless steel stock pot on medium-high heat. Once oil is hot (back up and do the spritz test), begin building your curry sauce by adding both curries, turmeric, all dried spices, and the scotch bonnet pepper.
2. Add seasoned chicken ( keep seasonings simple, just salt and pepper so that it doesn’t compete with the curry) into the sauce mixture, and season generously with same seasonings on top.
3. Once the chicken has browned a bit on one side, add water to the stock pot. You want to add enough water to be able to see parts of the chicken surface. Let boil for about 15 mins, then add more herbs, garlic salt, and black pepper to taste. Cover, and let boil for about 15 more mins.
4. Next you want to thoroughly rinse your chickpeas with cold water in a colander. This removes the bitter taste from the canned juices. Chickpeas are great for absorbing flavor (especially curry), and they hold well with other vegetables.
5. Add chickpeas to pot, add about a teaspoon of Sea Salt, and cover for 15 mins.
6. Once chickpeas have cooked down a bit, add your skinless chopped potatoes. You can’t have the “perfect” curry without potatoes. Even better than chickpeas, potatoes are great flavor absorbers. They hold in a lot of moisture, which means your stew has to have TONS of flavor. Once you add your potatoes, season them with more dried herbs, sea salt, and black pepper. Cover pot, and let simmer for another 15-20 mins (or until potatoes are tender)
7. After 20 mins or so, add your sliced white onions. You always want to add your onions towards the end, just as you approach your final sprint. Onions cook down really fast. Because of this, you add them at the very end because you want them to add body, flavor and character to your dish. I like mine cooked just under, for a slight crunch to add an element of texture to the dish. Once onions are added, cover pot and simmer for about 20mins. (The longer it simmers, the juicier, and tender the chicken and veggies become.)
8. Remove from the pot, garnish, and serve over white rice! I guarantee this will be the BEST curry chicken you have ever had!
Recipe #2: Shepard’s Loaf
For most, quarantining means stocking up on essentials like toilet paper, paper towels, and hand sanitizer. And while those things are in fact essential, chefs, home cooks and foodies alike are stocking up on things like canned goods, frozen meats/foods, and other pre-prepared non-perishables that will help meals stretch a bit further. This next dish is everything that you need during quarantine. Its protein, carbs, and veggies! Just the way we like ’em!
PrepTime : 15 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
– Ground Beef (can substitute for any ground protein, including meatless grounds)
– Italian Sausage
-Peeled Whole Potatoes (can substitute with boxed mashed potatoes)
-Crushed Red Pepper
-Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Add salted water to a stock pot and set to boil. Once boiled, add whole peeled potatoes and cook til tender.
2. Heat oiled skillet to medium heat. Once hot, add chopped veggies. Sauté and season in dry spices for about 5 mins or til al dente (fancy for: cooked with texture in tact). Set aside to use later for meat mixture.
3. Brown your meat. Add ground beef and sweet Italian sausage to a hot oiled pan. Add all dry spices and use a spoon to fold in the flavor. Once browned, add the veggies that we set aside earlier. Combine and cook together until veggies are tender.– The veggies become flavor-absorbers, locking in all of that deliciousness from the meat.
4. Once potatoes are tender, drain water and mash with a wooden spoon or a potato masher. Once mashed, Add 1 cup of heavy cream, 1/2 cup of sour cream, 2 Tblsp of butter, salt, pepper, dried parsley and shredded cheese to taste. Use an immersion hand blender to achieve a creamy texture and to ensure that all of the ingredients are successfully combined. The potatoes should have a nice velvety whip to them.
5. Take a loaf pan, and layer the bottom of it with a very thin layer of mashed potatoes. Next, add your meat and veggie mixture. Be sure to dense-pack the ingredients into the loaf pan using the back of a serving spoon. It is important for everything to fit nice and tight into the pan to achieve equal distribution of heat.
6. Add a generous layer of mashed potatoes to the top, and put in the oven and bake for about 15 mins.
7. Next, set your oven to broil for about 3 mins, to quickly brown the top of the pie.
8. Remove from the oven, garnish, plate and enjoy!