Celebrating a Dream That Brings Everyone to The Dinner Table

3 MINUTE READ

Jalissa Horton has pursued her culinary dreams for a lifetime. She persisted through a pandemic and evolved her dream into a holistic experience aimed at bringing everyone to the dinner table, known as the Chef Jalissa Culinary Company.

Childhood Dreams

There once was a 13-year-old middle schooler who loved cooking so much - she transformed her parents’ house into a makeshift restaurant. As she cooked up dishes rooted in her family’s recipes, she made her mom the server for friends who came to eat. A passion that wouldn’t fade, she provided homemade meals for her ‘Supper Club’ and continued cooking through high school at ‘The Class Act Restaurant, a student-run restaurant in South King County. Ultimately, she sharpened her professional culinary arts skills at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island where this passionate foodie became a professionally-trained master. Her name is Chef Jalissa Horton.

Chef Jalissa Cooking Plantain Kewle for students of the Virtual Cookbook Authors of Color series

Ambition That Won't Quit

Jalissa dedicated 10 years of her life to the restaurant industry, giving it every bit of her all. Jalissa carried an ambition to not only succeed but to use her knowledge of a whole world of cuisines to transform menus featuring fusions of her family’s Southern American recipes. Because Jalissa wanted to own every element of her work she left the restaurant industry,

“I realized I gotta do this myself.”

Jalissa began exploring options for launching her business and found Business Impact NW. Jalissa attended and graduated from our Launch and Grow series that she states, “helped me get a general sense of what it takes to run a business.” She learned, “there are attributes you must have in order to be an entrepreneur: confidence, compassion, commitment, dedication, a sense of urgency, and a willingness to learn what you don’t know.” These were all things Jalissa knew she carried with her and she was ready to take them on.

Chef J. Paves The Way

Jalissa Horton launched her own catering business in April 2019, then called ‘Boujee Food & Things’ with a motto of “Simple foods, re-imagined.” Jalissa was finally able to bring forward the recipes her family used with the variety of cooking cultures she was exposed to from Cambodian to Ethiopian and Italian.

Then, the pandemic hit and brought different needs to a disrupted food industry. Jalissa quickly pivoted to adopting a virtual and delivery model for her food. She established a platform to share her love for delicious food to a whole new world — delivering a unique online experience. She embraced this new platform with her new business name, Chef Jalissa Culinary Co.

A year later in April 2021, Chef Jalissa launched Chef J. Cooks Club as a supplement to Chef Jalissa Culinary Co. Chef J Cooks Club is a virtual platform where viewers can join ‘Chef J.’ in a variety of cooking classes in cuisines from across the world including Syrian, Irish, and Latin American dishes. With this newfound success and hope for the broadening reach of her business, Jalissa noted, “I credit a lot of my success to [Business Impact NW].”

Celebrating Strength in Community

Now, Chef Jalissa Culinary Co. is growing into a whole foodie experience anyone can join. Jalissa’s purpose is to bring everyone to the dinner table, using accessible recipes featuring a variety of world cuisines. Chef J's purpose continues to be rooted in family — a journey she notes she couldn't have taken on without the support of her mom, "My mom has helped with everything since the beginning..." — and making an impact in the community. She adds, "I want to support communities of color… In [a phase] of our business, we want to hire formerly incarcerated people looking for a fresh start who are not able to seek employment from other companies."

Chef Jalissa will be joining us this year for Celebrating Dreams 2021. Celebrating Dreams is an event Jalissa found beneficial back in 2019 and looks forward to again this year, “[Celebrating Dreams] got me so many hits and requests, people were following me and all…” She will be part of 60 showcase Woman-owned businesses running from today until June 2021 and will then join the main event on May 27th, 2021 from 6:00PM - 7:30PM PT!

We can’t wait to see all that Chef Jalissa will continue to bring to dinner tables across the region and the world.

Sign up for Celebrating Dreams 2021 Here.

A Special Thank You to our Celebrating Dreams 2021 Sponsors:

 

About the author

Communications Coordinator at Business Impact NW

Osmir "Oz" Díaz is the Communications Coordinator at Business Impact NW,
dedicated to amplifying the work of diverse entrepreneurs online and offline.

Oz holds a variety of skills in digital marketing that she applies to her work for racial equity and social justice in the digital landscape.

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