Combine food, art and design and Jeffrey Morneau is definitely making his mark on the food scene. Nicknamed Chef Jeff, Morneau is a New York City-based chef who owns his own catering company, Chef Jeff Catering. With 11 years of culinary experience and event planning, he has provided chef services for numerous restaurants in the city and has worked with countless celebrities including Teyana Taylor, Fabolous and Salt & Peppa. If you reside in NYC, most likely you’ve heard of him.
As a young Black chef operating his own culinary business in a White, male-dominated industry, he is breaking racial barriers as an amazing cook with a sense of humor and easy-going personality that makes it a joy to work with him.
I’ve been to several events where Morneau has provided catering services and I could say that guests always feel welcomed and at ease. Most recently, I had the opportunity to speak with him about his career.
First, I want to start off asking when and how did you get started in the culinary business?
I got into the business immediately after culinary school in 2006. I worked for various companies before pursuing my entrepreneurial journey. Food is definitely my passion, so I remained steady in the field until I was forced to be my own boss.
Which culinary chef has influenced you the most?
I would like to say that Chef Roble and Chef JR Robinson are two guys that have influenced me the most. Their vibes are so organic and they are not just pretty plate chefs. Chef Omar whom I consider my peer is definitely influential as well. Our names and the work we provide is synonymous. All of these guys cook and put out meals that are relatable and delicious.
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I know that your Haitian upbringing is dear to your heart and soul. How do you infuse Haitian culture into your cooking today? What's your favorite Haitian dish that you enjoy cooking?
I infuse my Haitian culture into my cooking today by using certain marinades and spices that are native to us. The style of cooking isn't really formal or groundbreaking, so that's where I'm able to integrate the two. Haitian flavor combined with classically trained techniques.
New York City is like no other city in the world. What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a chef in NYC?
The advantage of being a chef in NYC is knowing that there is some type of event happening every day, every hour. “The city that never sleeps” isn't just a saying. These days my services are in very high demand.
In the past few years, many private chefs have entered the food industry. What sets you apart from other chefs?
My Haitian flavor definitely is a big separating factor. The decor and experience I provide as a whole are uncontested. Chef Jeff Catering is a one-stop shop. All your needs will be satisfied under one umbrella.
I see that you enjoy providing chef services and planning events. Which do you prefer, event planning or cooking?
They both are near and dear to my heart. I've always enjoyed doing both. People try to put me in separate boxes at times. Event planning and cooking are both arts in their own. It's a 50/50 type of love.
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Follow Morneau's Instagram page which is beautifully curated with sweet and savory photos from past and future events.