At just 36 years old, Chef JJ is a James Beard Foundation Book Award-winning chef and author. Born in Long Island and raised in the Poconos, JJ first caught the food bug at his family’s childhood cookouts.
“My grandmother put the food DNA into me. I started with her in the kitchen and, from a young age, I knew I wanted to be in the food world.”
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, JJ took a gamble and decided to study West African cuisine in Ghana — it was a trip that changed the entire course of his career.
His mission? To share those traditions and tastes with folks in Harlem. In pursuit of that goal, JJ launched the first FIELDTRIP location in 2019; late last year they opened two more, one in Midtown and the other in Long Island City.
“The community has helped tremendously. We have fed frontline workers and people in need, and really showed that we’re with them, through the good times and the bad.”
The counter-service eatery dishes out rice bowls made with heirloom grains and global flavors, focusing on sustainable and ethically-sourced ingredients.
Its mantra is “rice is culture,” which, according to Chef JJ, was born “out of a realization that rice can be found at the center of tables of so many cultures around the world. Rice connects people.”