Chef Jurdaé (Photos by Matthew Pasley of shots.on.ice)

By J.A. Chase
Special to the AFRO

“Broken people, lost dreams and everyday stress all disappear the moment we break bread…in that moment, I have the opportunity to create happiness.  The look on a client’s face when texture, taste and spices intertwine is what brings me joy and solidifies my life’s vision and purpose.”

Born and raised in Baltimore, the city he will always love, Chef Jurdae’ has built a career with this tidbit of advice he offers when training or lecturing throughout the city, “Continue learning everything and forgetting nothing.”  This mantra has pushed him to cultivate his creativity into a flavorful and profitable labor of love. He understands that fine dining is not just about white glove service, linen napkins and sport jacket requirements; but rather the consummation of creative passion, fresh ingredients and flavors that excite the palate with both nostalgia and the taste of a growing Baltimore.

Growing up in Baltimore prepared Chef Jurdae’ for his career as a chef, and his innate sense of competition and ingenuity prove, “If you can make it in Baltimore, you can make it anywhere.” He has worked to pave a lane for himself and other up and coming chefs to expand their palates with layers of flavor and culturally diverse recipes. The signature – all things crab, Old Bay on everything and chicken boxes have put our dining culture into a tiny box – but no shade because we all grew up enjoying a piping hot “Chicken Box!” These staple dishes allow him to create countless levels of flavor that we have never experienced but subconsciously crave – the savory and sultry layers of tasteful delight are what inspire Chef Jurdae’ to reinvent what it means to be a Chef in Baltimore.

“You can’t be a part of culinary artistic change if you’re not in the thick of the industry.”  Leading the shift in how our community enjoys cuisine has placed Chef Jurdae’ right at the crossroad of marrying what our tastebuds already know with practical knowledge and classroom training to inspire his community to see food as a way to unite and not divide.