“That Damn Brand” – An Evening with Chef Jason Moss
Updated: Sep 11, 2020
When you think of a cookbook, normally it’s a book of recipes with pictures of the finished products. Some may have tips and tricks, or cute pics of the author with flour on their apron. Other’s may focus on a certain style of cuisine.
Chef Jason Moss has taken what is commonly known as a cookbook and turned it upside down. “That Damn Cookbook” takes readers on an uncensored journey of his life while giving lessons on how to feed your belly and your soul. I spent an evening with him sampling outstanding dishes and finding out more about the man behind the brand.
His career in the food and restaurant industry began with wanting a pair of Jordan’s (sneakers). He asked his father for a pair and was driven to a local hotel to apply for a job in the kitchen. What started as a job washing dishes, lead to a career that includes working in top rated eateries with industry leaders, as well as becoming a personal chef to an Olympic athlete. However, while Jason was learning to perfect his craft, he was also entering into what he describes as an, “amoral society”.
For close to 15 years, Jason fought a hard battle with drug and alcohol addiction. In our interview he revealed the restaurant business sustains high rates of addiction due to the demand of the fast pace and stress of the environment. His lifestyle led him down path of failed marriages, unhealthy eating habits causing him to become 290 lbs., and even jail time. In effort to turn his life around he started with his diet and became an extreme athlete participating in some the most difficult races and obstacle courses. But it wasn’t until he did the work focusing on the “why” of it all, becoming what he calls “soul sober”, and truly gaining control of his healing. He also has food as an outlet, “I don’t work. I get paid to play with food. It’s always been my escape.” He has been free from addiction for 15 years.
July of this year, “That Damn Cookbook” was published as the “un-cookbook”. He accounted for most people’s short attention span (and time) for reading and crafted the book in a way that no matter how much or how little is read, the reader will gain something from it. The recipes are bright and full of flavor. He teaches the basics of cooking to eat well, what every kitchen should be equipped with, and how to use to use what you have. He adamantly states that he does not have a cooking style, “I simply cook, and I cook simply. That’s it.”
When asked how he expresses his emotion through the art of food he explained, “As an artist, it’s about the mood, how your feeling…I allow the food to tell me where it wants to go, how it wants to be treated. I think in flavors.” He said his ex-wife once told him she could tell when he was upset by how the food tasted.
We discussed the restaurant business and the pivot it is having to make due to the pandemic. In his opinion owners will have to, “figure it out or fold”. As for Jason, he continues to provide personal chef services and prepared meals including delivery. He believes the food truck industry is going to soar due to the inability to eat-in comfortably and is currently working on a plan for his own. He is also preparing to launch a line of spice blends, apparel, and gift sets on a new website coming soon to add to “That Damn Brand”.