Born and raised in Canada, Jocelyn Myers-Adams is an independent chef and entrepreneur who has spent 16 years living and working in South Africa. Today, she is a member of the board of directors and a chairperson for the South African Chefs’ Association, the co-founder of Food Jams, and the Managing Director at Jocelyn Myers-Adams Hospitality and Consulting Services.
Jocelyn has a passion for using seafood as the hero ingredient in many of her signature dishes, all while keeping sustainability top of mind at all times.
“We are all being told that overfishing is a problem, but we’re also aware that seafood forms an important part of one’s wellbeing and nutrition. I believe in everything in moderation and would recommend eating fish at least once a week,” she says.
Initially, Jocelyn had dreams of becoming a lawyer. While she always enjoyed getting creative in the kitchen, she explains that it never really occurred to her to make a career out of it. It wasn’t until her father began donating to a local chef school and taking her along to the school’s various luncheons and fundraisers that she was ‘romanced’ into considering cooking as a possible profession.
“In the end, I just went for it!” she says with a smile.
Jocelyn enrolled at Ontario’s Stratford Chef’s School and, following her comprehensive studies, she was one of a few lucky chefs to be awarded the opportunity to work 6,000 hours as an apprentice for Chef Jamie Kennedy in Toronto. Here, she learnt how to work with only organic ingredients. Later on, she also worked under Gordon Ramsey at his restaurant in Chelsea, UK.
Over the years, Jocelyn has enjoyed the freedom of travelling for her work and talks about how her travels have greatly influenced her approach to cooking.
“I’ve been exposed to so many ingredients and cultures throughout my travels. African culture and flavours have been the most influential, though.”
Jocelyn is a working mom who takes great joy in exposing her children to the culinary world. She smiles broadly when she speaks about her little “change-makers.” Jocelyn strongly believes that today’s younger generations are a lot more in tune with the need to cook and eat with a conscience and greater consciousness.
“My kids are already little change-makers. Sometimes they are vegetarian and they are all well-aware of the importance of seafood sustainability – something I’ve noticed in many other children and teenagers of today.”
Jocelyn highlights how her business, Food Jams, successfully running for over a decade, presented a social culinary-focused experience to the kids at Cedar House. They catered to three groups of up to 70 students each. The first group was 14-year-olds, the second group comprised 15-year-olds, and the third group included 17-year-olds. In the first group, approximately 30% classed themselves as vegetarians or pescatarians, around 50% in the second group, and well over 60% in the third group!
“Kids understand that they have a say in what they eat, and I think that’s what’s going to make the difference going forward,” Jocelyn comments.
Inspired by her children’s attitudes towards sustainability, Jocelyn continues to do her best to make sustainable choices. “I specify the species and discuss the way they were caught-i.e., some species are better line-caught,” says Jocelyn. Whenever possible, she makes an effort to visit harbours and local fishermen directly to source her ingredients.
“I’m passionate about sustainability. We have a beautiful world, and we need to take care of it. The true value of what we do isn’t about money. The true cost calculates the impact on our natural and social environments. It’s about making a lasting positive impact.” Jocelyn concludes.