Walking through the bylanes of Mapusa market, Jason is like a kid in a candy store. Flitting from shops to stalls, he revels in the sights and aromas wafting about, pausing every now and then to inspect the wares of bemused stall owners. “This is where it all began for me,” he says. “I have loved food and alluring flavours since I was a child, but Goa is where I embarked on the journey that brought me to where I am today. It’s where I became a Chef.”
As a young boy, Jason was fascinated by his mother’s kitchen. He would often ditch his toys to play with her pots and pans, and later, shadow her in her domain as she effortlessly created mouth-watering delicacies. This was where he built his knowledge of flavours and textures, of technique and presentation. When it came time to decide on a career, it was never a choice – it was a calling.
Jason enrolled in IHM Goa where he studied the finer nuances of culinary science and honed his skill through the rigorous course that has produced some of India’s finest hospitality professionals. “At the end of the day, you would be bone-weary and exhausted, but brimming with an incomparable satisfaction at what you had accomplished. This is where I learnt discipline and rigour in technique, attention to detail and the pursuit of perfection, and the spirit of constant innovations in food. It was truly the process that moulded me”, he says.
Armed with his formidable training and his ambitious vision, Jason’s career took off with the Taj Group of Hotels and then soared as he completed stints at some of India’s finest hospitality chains, becoming the youngest Executive Chef in the country with Royal Orchid Hotels at the age of 25. Rather than rest on his laurels, Jason decided to enhance his culinary knowledge and experience and enrolled with Le Cordon Bleu in London to pursue a Grande Diplome in Food Production and Patisserie. He followed this with stints in the famed kitchens of Michelin-starred chefs Gordon Ramsay and Alain Ducasse.
Since his return to India, Jason has helped establish several premium hospitality brands in the country, the most recent being as Culinary Director of Curefit, where he helped scale operations from one kitchen to 95 kitchens across the country.
During the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, Jason delighted amateur cooks with his recipe ideas, tips and tricks to create stunning gourmet dishes in their own homes. Now as the world opens up again, Jason is itching to get back to the hospitality and restaurant scene. “What better place to do this than where it all began?”, he asks. “What better way to give back to the community that is at the heart of everything I am today”.
Jason’s vision is to create the ultimate fine-dining experience in Goa by bringing world-class gourmet experiences infused with the nostalgic flavours of our own backyards. “ True Fine dining is more than just the latest fads, techniques and “in” ingredients are thrown together and prettied up. It is – above all – an experience. It is flavours, textures, sights, and smells all coming together that transport you to destinations known and unknown. It is a memory in one mouthful or a discovery of a new and unique adventure with one taste. That is the experience I want to create,” he says.
With plans already in the works to bring his vision to life, the wait for this culinary extravaganza may not be that long. “Who knows? It may be as soon as November,” he says with a cryptic smile. Now isn’t that something to look forward to?