Chef Jamie Bissonnette tells the story of how he went from disaffected hardcore kid to super-successful chef.
Couple of weeks ago my dad said we're so proud of you that you didn't go to jail. I said dad who thought I was gonna go to jail? He says, well everybody. Everybody thought you were going to go to jail. [MUSIC] I think I was born broken. Maladjusted, all that kind of thing. Some people could internalize it, be creative. For me, I had a major, major chip on my shoulder If you looked at me I'd say, what are you looking at? Why is that guy messing with me? And I would end up slinging my fists. When I was in high school, I was in that work release program thing. The special kids, you'd get out of school early so you could work because they knew there was no chance most of us were ever gonna do anything productive. [MUSIC] You guys are losers, and you're not smart, so you can't stay in school They were pretty up front about telling us that. [MUSIC] Took me a long time to figure out that I could shed that skin and become a different person. [MUSIC] I fell into cooking because I was a hardcore kid. I had tattoos when I was 15. A straight edge Vegan. Back in the early 90's there wasn't anywhere for us to eat. So we would cook for ourselves. I love getting in vans and going on tours. I love driving for six hours to go see, into another and then driving another six hours back. But money was running out, I wasn't good at a lot of things. The things that I were good at it were cooking. And being a young chef to be good. To get a good job at a nice restaurant where you're learning and getting better. You don't have a lot of free time. Eventually I just realized that I was not a very good musician and I really liked cooking, so I stuck with that. [MUSIC] When I was a young cook all I wanted to do was learn how to be French. French chef, I was a francophile. My last name's Bissonnette. I embraced it, even though I'm mostly Swedish and German. I loved learning about pates and tureens, and cooking au vesee. And I was like, I need pig bladders. I need to cook all traditional French. And then I found Spanish food, and I was like, whoa. It's like being really, really into thrash and then finding the Cro-Mags, and Sheer Terror and Gorilla Biscuits and going, oh wait, I've belong here. I love eating a little bit often rather than eating big meals. I love that you can put so much flavor onto one little piece of toasted bread that you eat and you're like that is so satisfying. And I just stuck with it, I love it. [BLANK_AUDIO] There'll be busy nights when the restaurant is bumping and I'll look around and I look at everybody in my restaurant. And I'm like, I don't belong here. Like everybody here's too cool and too fancy and too skinny and too Pretty for me. And I'm still sitting on my couch on my nights off, picking my nose, eating my boogers, watching crappy tv, getting takeout. Yeah. I always feel like I'm a little bit out of step, like the black sheep. But I still love it. [MUSIC] 15 year old me would definitely kick 37 year old me Bee's ****, that's for sure. Or try. [BLANK_AUDIO]