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Behind the Chef Apron: Getting to Know Chef Jay Z

Behind the Chef Apron: Getting to Know Chef Jay Z

Morrison Healthcare Executive Chef Jay “Jay Z” Ziobrowski was recently awarded the American Culinary Federation’s Presidential Medal for his continued commitment to growing the ACF, supporting local chapters, and his personal commitment to culinary industry. The president of ACF, Kimberly Brock Brown, traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina to hand-deliver this medal to Chef Jay Z at a Chapter Meetup.

But this award just scratches the surface of Chef Jay Z’s passion and excitement over The Power of Food and the vast opportunities that await him in the culinary world. We sat down with him to get to know a little bit more about the man behind the chef apron.

Click below to listen to our interview with Chef Jay Z or keep scrolling to read! 


What is your earliest/favorite memory of cooking/food?

Jay Z: I actually don’t have a lot of memories of spending time in the kitchen growing up. Both of my parents worked, so our dinners were pretty much the same every week – meatloaf, chicken cutlet, or some kind of steak. I do remember that a lot of the time, my mom would defrost a chicken overnight, and then it would be my job to season it and put it in the oven when I got home from school.

Have you always wanted to be a Chef/work with food?

Jay Z: Oh no, not at all. I honestly didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life. Right after I graduated high school, my grandma asked me that age-old question- “What do you want to be when you grow up?” When I told her I didn’t know, she told me I should go to cooking school, and her reasoning was that I made a really good tuna fish sandwich for lunch that day. This was all the direction I needed, and shortly after I started a culinary and hospitality program at a community college in Long Island, NY.

What was your first job in the food industry?

Jay Z: I worked in several local places to get experience while I was still in college. At Stoneybrook University, I landed a job as a line cook at the busiest restaurant on campus. I stayed with the company that employed me there for four years and rotated around positions such as catering, fast food restaurants, running the student union deli, working banquets, and more. I really enjoy hands-on learning and being in the kitchen, so this was a great start to my professional culinary experience. A director position within the company became available, and the guy who beat me out of the position had a bachelor’s degree, so this inspired me to go back to school!

What are your hobbies outside of cooking?

Jay Z: Halloween! I already got a shipment in for this year. I turn my garage into a haunted house and during the Halloween season, the line is around the block! I just really love creating an experience for other people and getting as excited as they do. My big FIVE-O birthday is this year, and I am sending my friends on a scavenger hunt, but here’s the twist: they are hunting for me. I also partake in what my neighborhood calls “Smokey Boys Night”, where all the neighborhood dads and I get together and smoke a bunch of food to celebrate Father’s Day. It’s a blast.

What is your favorite dish to make?

Jay Z: Hmmm. My go-to is chicken wings. But my favorite would have to be this thing I do where I can make anyone a four to five-course meal using only what they already have in their house- and then challenge me with a timeframe to do it. I love the challenge and having to be quick on my feet. Chopped is my favorite show, and I have even brought this type of challenge into an ACF meetups over the years. We called it the “In the Cupboard” Cooking Competition or “Cut Throat Cooking Challenge.” This is also a great way to reduce food waste because you find a way to use, and then re-use ingredients that you just have sitting around.

How does Morrison Healthcare help you grow as an individual and a professional?

Jay Z: The biggest thing that helps me grow is being able to be creative and then subsequently being able to see the things I create in motion. Food is medicine and working so closely with dietitians has helped to challenge and improve my way of thinking when it comes to what ingredients I am feeding people. For example, if you think something needs salt, you can add citrus instead. It adds the same acidic value and takes out all the added sodium. You can cook food that is good for you and make it taste good.  “Changing the way people eat, one mouth at a time.”

So, there you have it! Now the next time you see this culinary expert’s name in lights, you will know a little bit more about him, his life, and how his passion for healing people through food drives his excellency. We’re so glad to have Jay Z as part of the Morrison Healthcare family!

Interested in joining the Morrison Healthcare family? Check out our current job openings!

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