For the 147th week of "7 QUESTION SUNDAY" we shine the spotlight on another influential individual from the PNW. Chef Chantel Jackson takes entrepreneurship to another level. From cooking to singing and food judging, this chef has taken her PNW honed skills global.
4EVRGRN: Hey, CJ! Tell us a little about yourselves.
CJ: Hi, I’m Chef Chantel “The Lunch lady” Jackson a Hilltop, Tacoma Washington Native. My culinary journey started in 2016 when I was tired of cooking under corporate companies, so I took a leap of faith and started my own private chef business Thyme Well Spent, LLC, which then lead to catering, and soon I opened my CJs Philly’s food truck. My expertise of starting food businesses led to creating my own curriculum on how to start a food truck business which has been contracted through several colleges and programs in Washington state. Being in high demand in the PNW, I have catered for companies such as the GSBA, Amazon, Facebook, Starbucks, T-Mobile and more. While feeding people has been my passion, I also enjoy entertaining, especially through song. I have sung at various events throughout WA, while working on my Gospel album released in 2020. I am a certified World Food Championship Judge, for the plant-based category. I flew into Dallas to be a part of the 2019 Games. In 2019 I launched my Sweet Tea line Tea Thyme, a vegan all-natural organic tea. I hope to spread health & wealth, one city at a time.
- You travel to cook, what do you miss most about the PNW when you’re gone?
CJ: My family and the Tacoma dome, when I was younger that was a big landmark that I recognized that I was almost home, just a couple more exits and I was home to my family.
- Favorite local product?
CJ: Tea Thyme, Thyme infused herbal teas, a variety of flavors including Peachy Thyme, Chocolate Thyme, Applemint Thyme & Superfruit Thyme. If you are a tea drinker, you will be obsessed! Also, on my website.
- What is the hardest part about being a food judge?
CJ: The hardest thing about being a food judge is not being able to finish everything especially the good food entrees. you have to literally take a few bites, and write the score because the food is coming at you, back to back to back. you have to try literally 8-10 entrees, sometimes 20 if there's a shortage. But I was born to eat, and I love it here so sometimes I bring me a ice cooler, with a zip lock bag and take stuff to go
- Favorite events to cater in the PNW?
CJ: Funerals. I know it sounds crazy, but I love the fact that I can see people in mourning, and then watch their faces light up when they eat my food. the atmosphere changes immediately from sadness to joy, and I love it
- Best meal inspired by the PNW?
CJ: Jerk Salmon w/ Blueberry Dill Pico, wild mushroom pilaf, & asparagus is definitely my go to and most requested
- You serve many different ways; catering, food truck, personal chef - which is your favorite to do?
CJ: Cafeteria style, I love being a lunch lady. sometimes the military will contract me to take over their cafeteria and me and my staff will provide lunch for training days. There's something about sliding a tray and scooping food on it
- You’re also a phenomenal singer, can you tell us a bit about your music?
CJ: My music is faith based, my first album well actually my Demo is called Co Independence just tells my story of how once I ended all my codependent friendships & relationships and depended solely on God, that was the start of me having a total transformation & my career skyrocketing. You can find some of my songs on my website. My first single Be somebody, talks about how ever since I was younger, even in the hardest times I knew I had a vision and I kept repeating "I’m gonna be somebody" and years later here I am. I believe if you say things it comes to pass, so if we stop repeating negative lyrics.... and try saying "I’m gonna be somebody" watch how your life can transform.
Catch Chantel in the Karaoke World Championship June 18, 2022 at Muckleshoot Casino 11am in the Galaxy venue.
Follow all Chef Chantel’s adventures on IG @theworldslunchlady and @thymewellspent_ and @_teathyme Visit her website at www.thymewellspentinc.com