Chef Jason (Jason Peru) refers to his new chutney soca release for the 2018 Carnival, Live Meh Life, as a perfect blend of “calalloo and dhal.”
“We tried to put new flavours in the composition,” he said of the fusion of old soca and new-age chutney flavours simmering together in the work written by Tempo (Rowan Lewis), and produced by Maha Studios (Rishi Mahatoo and Kris Persad (KI)), and his father, Errol Peru. The song was launched last month on all major radio frequencies.
Peru said the selection, which speaks of the many vices man encounters during his lifetime, was not written primarily for competition, as its purpose is also for people to enjoy and appreciate the contributions performing artistes make to the rich musical tapestry of TT.
“I am a travelling and television chef who travels across the globe,” he said. “However, singing also helps my brand as a chef, as when I travel to do my cooking, I am able to represent music also. So people see me as not just a chef, but a bona fide, all-round entertainer.”
Peru graduated from the Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (TTHTI ) in 2004 with an associate degree in Culinary Management. He was awarded three scholarships to attend Johnson and Wales University in Miami to further his education. There he attained his associate degree in Culinary Arts and his BSc in Culinary Arts. He graduated with Golden Quill Honours and maintained Dean’s List honours throughout his tenure.
While at university, Jason worked at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Miami as a hotline chef. He was then offered a chef de partie position at the Karu & Y Lounge, Miami. It was there he worked with his mentor, chef Alberto Cabrera, where they catered to stars such as P Diddy, Shaquille O’Neil , Gloria Estefan, Al Pacino and Jennifer Lopez, to name a few. Peru also managed to work part-time as a personal chef for clients and also a sauté chef in Pompano Beach, Florida.
“As far as singing and performing are concerned, I do this when time allows,” he said. “Singing is something I love, like a hobby. And despite my bubbling personality, I am a very constructive individual, and it’s easy for people to misconstrue my stage persona with what I am in real life.”
Peru said he is on a journey to build a template for what a true entertainment and showbiz chef should be. He is seeking to create a brand and a name for himself that would inspire others to follow in his footsteps.