AJ: Cooking various cuisines through different experiences.
Being away from family since high school, AJ pursued a Bachelors in Physics and Masters in Engineering Science & Mechanics. Growing up he has always been interested in trying new things. AJ is currently a Laser Process Development Engineer who enjoys experimenting different aspects of his job. He utilizes his research and development skills to solve complex problems. As a young child, he has always enjoyed tackling problems that others found difficult solving such as math and science problems. Hence, his career background. AJ comes from a military family which was both a blessing and a curse. He quickly became independent, made friends into family, and lived on his own at a very young age.
AJ loves a lot of things especially cooking, traveling, anime and watching football. He is a die hard Philadelphia Eagles fan! You can find him dressed as The Joker at most home and away games, especially the Super bowl games. He has been to over 18 football stadiums around the world, London included. His inspiration for cooking started when he was young. He often helped his father cook in the kitchen. During holidays, he and his family enjoy competition cook-off. Cooking brings out the creative side of him that let’s him experiment different ingredients. He loves the way it brings an instant gratification of tasteful flavors.
AJ recently started an instagram @themedcuisine and soon youtube channel for his love of food!
Read his interview with Co-host Nikki below:
Q: What inspired you to start cooking?
My dad loves to really cook. If you wanted to hangout with him you’re always in the kitchen. I was a fat baby. My mother always told me, "You need to learn how to cook for yourself." This was my life lesson from her and have since cooked for myself. Although, I like to think she only told me that because she didn't like to cook so I ended up cooking for her most of the time.
Q: What inspired you to start cooking?
My best friend is from Spain. He and his family introduced me to a lot of international cuisine. I love the social aspect of bringing people together when cooking/eating.
Q: What satisfies you about cooking?
I love the instant gratification of cooking my own food whether it needs a little more hint of spice, doing better next time, or getting family/friends critique. And simply just trying new things and challenging myself.
Q: What are your favorite types of food to make?
Currently, protein. I can get a lot more fun with it. However, I'm giving more attention to making side dishes along with it!
Q: What's your go to food ingredient when a dish doesn't taste the way you want it?
You can never go wrong with garlic in any dish whether that be for seafood, stir fry, or steak.
Q: What's the best dish you've ever made?
I've tried making ramen and sushi multiple times, but this year I've finally perfected both and I am proud of it. It's not easy making either. It takes a lot of patience and preparation.
Q: What's your next food challenge?
Definitely bread & dough. I recently bought a KitchenAid!
Q: Why did you choose themed cuisine as your handle?
Basically, when I cook it's usually because I'm inspired by a theme. Such as Mulan's movie release on Disney Plus. I made a Chinese dish of pork buns and pork ribs. When the Eagles are playing I'll make something you usually get in Philly or depending on what city/state I'm in when watching the Eagles game. You can't forget pairing a tasty alcoholic drink with the dish to make it fit all together.
Q: What inspired you to start a YouTube channel?
I was mostly just having fun with it. I watch a lot of cooking videos like @bejanminbabish & @chefpk (anime foods). I really got into it and it seemed really fun. The decision that made it for me though was making lobster sushi for the first time. It was the first time ever making a live video of how to kill an animal. I was nervous making the video and documenting it. However, this video had the biggest response. Many viewers said they loved watching the video and how they can see themselves making this or never knew how lobsters were cooked. One of the things for me is representation and seeing somebody that looks like me. Growing up and still today there aren’t a lot of black characters, chefs. When I do watch these YouTube videos, I rarely see black people making sushi, ramen, lobster, Thai and Indian cuisine. I’m not a pro chef, but I enjoy and can easily whip something up from my local grocery stores to make exotic dishes. I want to be able to represent all kinds of cuisines and stray away from being stuck in this particular shell.
Q: What advice would you give someone wanting to become a cook or starting his/her own Food YouTube Channel?
Just keep at it. I always thought I was a decent cook, but the more time I spent in the kitchen the better I got. Even my friends noticed from tasting my before and now dishes. You don't have to be an excellent chef wiz, just add your own flavor to it and continue to practice and learn.