Chef Jet Tila

Kung Pao Steak

with Basmati Rice & Toasted Cashews

“I learned the foundations of Chinese food by my YaYa’s side. The knife cuts, the right ingredients at the right time, the heat of
the wok...”

Culinary traditions, reimagined

Chef Jet Tila

About Chef Jet Tila

Born into the ‘first family’ of Thai food in Los Angeles, Jet Tila’s culinary rise was practically written in the stars. Mind you, his path wasn’t exactly linear. Detours included textbook teenage rebellion and dreams of joining the police force, but when push came to shove in his late 20s, he couldn’t deny the richness of his Thai-Chinese upbringings—his birth luck.

So how did it all begin? Chef Jet grew up a restaurant and grocery store kid in East Hollywood. America’s first-ever Thai market (opened by his parents in 1972) was his playground, and his YaYa (aka grandmother) would become his first cooking instructor. She taught him the fundamentals of Chinese food that would endure.

“Cooks like me come in two styles—you're either an ‘artist’ or an ‘artisan’. I think an artist is always trying to push limits, whereas an artisan captures the essence of the dish, going back in time. I’m from that second school, chasing how my mom and grandma made it.”

Jet’s edge in the kitchen

Even now, Chef Jet still uses the heirloom cleaver passed down from his YaYa. It’s a well-worn symbol of his respect for the past, and a reminder of the years spent sharpening his skills in French and Japanese culinary schools, restaurant kitchens, and backyard cooking classes in L.A.

Fast forward to today and Jet’s signature brand of cooking and storytelling reaches millions of people a year through his books, restaurants, and appearances across Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen, Chopped, and Beat Bobby Flay, among others.
The James Beard Good Food for Good Foundation

Giving back with the James Beard Foundation

To coincide with the launch of Chef’s Special, Freshly is proud to support the critical work of the James Beard Foundation’s ‘Open for Good’ campaign. Our donation will help independent restaurants across America survive the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 crisis, to rebuild better, and thrive for the long term.