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Men Who Cook: Jacques Plummer

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Welcome back to our weekly feature highlighting brothers who throw down in the kitchen. Meet Jacques, who enjoys mixing dishes from different cultures.

Missed one? Catch up on all the interviews and recipes of our featured chefs in our Men Who Cook Roundup »

View photos of Jacques in action »

Name: Jacques Plummer
Occupation: Veterinary Surgeon / Technical Trainer
Age: 33
City: Baltimore

ESSENCE.COM: What's your story on discovering your passion for cooking?
JACQUES PLUMMER:
I come from a long line of natural born male cooks. I have to give credit to my Pops. The brother can throw down! I’m a good cook, but I am definitely the cricket and he is the grasshopper. My pops is the oldest of his 12 brothers and sisters. So, growing up, it was on him to make sure everyone was good. I am the oldest of three and he expected the same thing from me. At 12 years old, I could do some things with a pack of oodles of noodles, shrimp and veggies. It wasn’t Lo-mein, more like Po-mein (laughs). As I got older, the whole cooking thing became a passion and I just ran with it from there.

ESSENCE.COM: Nice, and what do you love the most about cooking?
PLUMMER: I love to cook because it calms me down. Growing up, I found that cooking would relax me and just take me away from all my stress and problems of life, including college, girls, money and more. I could go there and get away from anything. The kitchen was like church to me. To be honest, it still is.

ESSENCE.COM: So, share one of your best cooking tips with us.
PLUMMER:  Hmmm. I usually would have to use my spray and knock a person out before I showed them the path to my secret cave of spice tricks, but I guess I can share just one. One of my favorite things to use in a lot of my dishes, especially desserts, is Cognac. There is just something about the dark, rich, and smooth taste that gives that extra something special to anything I cook. From the gravy on my smothered chicken to the glaze I use on my white chocolate bread pudding. Cognac, you can’t beat it.

ESSENCE.COM: Nice. Now, have you had any big mistakes in the kitchen?
PLUMMER: Wow, where do I even begin? As I mentioned, I love to use Cognac in a lot of my dishes. I was still in college when I first started experimenting with liquor in my cooking. Me trying to be America’s next top chef and watching too many cooking shows, I had this great idea of cooking apples in rum and sugar. Well, this obviously was not the brightest idea, because when the pot started to over boil, the rum hit the flames. You pretty much get the idea. Lucky enough my dorm room didn’t burn down. And yes, I said my dorm room. I know I know. I said I was in college, I didn’t say I was smart... (laughs).

ESSENCE.COM: (Laughs.) Yes, glad those days are behind you. So, tell us about your signature dish.
PLUMMER:  I’ve always been big on experimenting and trying to bring two things that don’t match together to create something really special. Combining foods from different nationalities has been my unique way of making my dishes work. My signature dish is Italian inspired with a Japanese flair to it. It’s an Ahi Seared Tuna and Spinach Lasagna in a Wasabi-Ginger Cream Sauce with Jumbo Shrimp and Sea Scallops.

Find out how you can make Jacques' signature dish, Ahi Seared Tuna and Spinach Lasagna in a Wasabi-Ginger Cream Sauce »

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