A great chef understands that before a morsel of food hits someone’s palate, it has to appeal to them on the plate. Not only does Wenford Patrick Simpson, Executive Chef of B.B. King Blues Club and Grill and the Highline Ballroom in New York City and star of Tempo Television’s Cook-Up With Chef Patrick, want you to fall in love with what you taste when you visit his restaurants, he wants you to love what you see as much as he loves preparing it.
Chef Simpson first discovered his love of cooking as a young boy back in Jamaica, spending time with family. He recalls, “My mom used to work two jobs so I had to babysit my sister, so every now and again I would be in the kitchen cooking something for her so she could have something to eat.” At the age of 10, Chef accidentally stumbled upon the realization that the kitchen could be a place to create and experiment, and ultimately come up with something uniquely flavorful. While attending Marcus Garvey High School in Jamaica, Chef says he chose to study food and nutrition as a way to give him access to food, but the experience actually fueled his passion for and interest in culinary arts and cooking.
“I used to go to school with no lunch money, nothing to have for lunch, so I was basically using Food and Nutrition class was my resource. I thought there was going to be food there, but to my surprise, there wasn’t always food there – I sat in a class with paper, but every now and again, the teacher would have practical, where we would cook something and we would all get to eat.”
Chef Simpson began staying behind after Food and Nutrition class and studying cookbooks. He recalls one day his teacher asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, to which chef recalls he responded, “I want to be a famous chef. I don’t want to be rich, but I want to be a famous Chef with my own cookware… up until this day, I can remember the day when I said that. From that point I’ve set these goals and standards, I mark them off in my head, and I tick them off as I go along in the sense of accomplishment. It’s the bucket list that I created for what I want to do in my career as a chef. Seeing that I’ve accomplished all that I’ve set out to do as a part of my career – that’s my greatest accomplishment.
Today, as executive chef for B.B. Kinging, Chef Patrick cooks for hundreds of people weekly. His family has expanded to include members from all over the world who enjoy his fusion-style cooking. For Chef, it’s still all love. The chef is sharing the love by giving back to his native Jamaica in a big way – he is in the process of building a culinary school for students there because he wants the youth to know that if you believe and work hard, anything is possible.
For more on Chef Simpson, his television show Cook-Up With Chef Patrick on Tempo TV, and his line of seasonings go to http://chefwenfordpsimpson.com.