A Culinary Artist - Chef Oji Jaja

Thursday, April 12, 2012    

Print this page Email A Friend!

It's almost impossible to feign indifference to Chef Oji Jaja. Immaculately attired in full black, there was no disputing the culinary prowess of Jaja after he had “thrown down” course after course of fare so impressive that even the most discerning of our Food Awards judges felt compelled to raise a toast to excellence.

Growing up in Kingston Jamaica, Jaja was exposed to the kitchen from the early age of six, as he used to “hang out” in the kitchen while his father cooked family dinner on a Saturday. By the age of 12, he was able to cook most, if not all, of his family's dinner menus. While in high school, Chef Jaja found that food and nutrition was one of the subjects in which he excelled. After completing high school, he decided to enrol in the culinary programme offered by HEART Trust/NTA. On completion of this course, he attended the prestigious Johnson and Wales University based in Florida, USA. He was a straight 'A' student at both institutions, but it was at Johnson and Wales that his passion for the culinary arts was awakened.

On his return to Jamaica, Chef Jaja worked at The Ritz-Carlton Golf and Spa Resort, Rose Hall, as a sous-chef, later moving to The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, and Key Biscayne, Florida, where he further honed his skills, picking up valuable lessons; like being creative with what is available — a lesson that has remained with him. Chef Jaja, who also worked at Royal Plantation (now Sandals Royal Plantation), currently commutes between Washington, DC, and Jamaica, working with restaurants such as Eatonville and 876 Café (Washington, DC), while maintaining his catering business Ashebre. Jaja enjoys working at these restaurants, as he believes it is important that there be a synergy between restaurant owners and the chefs who create the various menus.

As one of his projects, Chef Jaja has authored a book titled Modern Caribbean Cuisine by Ashebre: A Delectable Treat For The Discerning Palate.

The word Ashebre is West African in origin and means “the artist”.

Chef Jaja has plans to revolutionise the way Caribbean people see food. He believes that Caribbean, and in particular Jamaican, cuisine has the potential to be developed and truly make its mark internationally.





1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper – email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus


Do you support the Gov’t giving US$200,000 towards staging the Racers Grand Prix 2017? 

View Results »


Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon