When you think about Hell’s Kitchen you probably envision a lot of fire, a lot of meat and a lot of competition. Well, private chef and Hell’s Kitchen contestant Josie Clemens changed all that during her run on the very famous show.
Josie not only challenged herself by competing on such a high-intensity show but challenged her fellow contestants and judges by doing something nobody has done on the show before. Josie is now known to be the first vegan chef on Hell’s Kitchen. Hell’s Kitchen among hundreds of other cooking shows has always been known to use every ingredient especially those from animals. Chef Josie changed that game and has been known to take her perspective and knowledge of vegan cooking to help people. Josie has certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which has been known to help and treat people with PTSD, IBS, Cancer, eating disorders and much more. We had the opportunity to chat with Chef Josie about her time at Hell’s Kitchen and her work as a vegan chef.
In an industry so focused on foods like meats and dairy products, what was it like when you first made a vegan dish during Hell’s Kitchen?
Being able to create my vegan signature dish and serve it to Gordon felt monumental. My overall experience of Hell’s Kitchen was a sheer joy because I was feeling confident that the virtue of a benevolent lifestyle was (and has been) taking me exactly where I needed to be.
As many chefs would not consider being vegan ‘proper’ how have you managed to clear the noise and challenge their statements with your food?
My fellow chefs on the season had SO many questions about a vegan diet, and also about how I perceived them for not being vegan. I think this is every non-vegans concern from a vegan: judgement. Once I told them that I was not in a position to judge, later on in the dorms I prepared the red and blue team a vegan meal…they loved it. It was a creamy tomato penne pasta with roasted veggies.
Being a chef is all about innovation and changing the cooking game, how do you think being a vegan chef has now opened more opportunities for innovation?
Being a vegan chef is a spiritual practice for me; it’s an opportunity to bring newness to the table while still catering to the senses and feelings of nostalgia that food taps into. Using whole foods to recreate old memories and assimilate
palette preferences is an opportunity to rewire the stomach and nervous system to accept nutrient-dense foods as emotionally satisfying sustenance….rather than craving/accepting dense animal protein that actually destroys the nervous system and microbiome.
What do you feel is the importance of food for your health, especially because you are known to heal people with your food?
I think the importance is beyond immense… the capacity to connect to the Earth and your environment all begins with the amount of serotonin and dopamine that is released and received by your hormone-producing glands…which is determined by the health of your stomach. When we are sincere in connecting to ourselves, our life path, our mission, etc, the connection happens when we dedicate our lives to the curious relationship between our stomach and reality. I’ve written a book about this recently…PUBLISHERS?! WHERE YOU AT? Lol.
How is it that you have come to heal people with cancer, PTSD, IBS and eating disorders all through food?
I think the intention alone to just do it really allowed for some incredible people to be brought into my life, to share with me their wisdom of how simple healing is, and how the prioritization of healing exposes all dis-ease within us. Any physical or mental diagnosis is scratching the surface; it’s an entry point…a portal to create significant change and launch ourselves into the life of our dreams.