Life's busy when you're a celebrity chef,
entrepreneur, culinary ambassador—and
father. Jet Tila manages to find time to
indulge in good books, music and culture.
Celebrity chef Jet Tila lives up to his first name. The culinary wiz spends much of his time travel- ing from one project to another.
There’s Kuma Snow Cream, a shaved-ice
spot in Las Vegas, and Stir Market, a fresh
version of a classic European food hall in
Los Angeles. He also hits the road as the
Royal Thai Consulate’s first Thai Culinary
Ambassador. A recent phone interview
catches him en route from Denver to
Minneapolis in support of Modern Asian
Kitchen. It’s a concept in Pan-Asian cuisine
that he launched in partnership with the
Compass Group, the world’s largest catering
service. But even boarding calls can’t keep
him from sharing some cultural favorites.
And they’re not even (all) about food.
READING, ON AND OFF THE MENU
I just finished The Education of Millionaires:
Everything You Won't Learn in College
About How to Be Successful, by Michael
Ellsberg. Although I’ve accomplished a
decent amount in my life, I’ve always felt
that Asian guilt about not finishing college. this book basically says that for some
professions—like mine—college might be a
waste of time.
Hot off the presses, I’ve got Dana cowin’s
book, Mastering My Mistakes in the Kitchen:
Learning to Cook with 65 Great Chefs and
Over 100 Delicious Recipes. It’s a super
great book, and very practical.
MUSIC TO COOK BY
You know the band Mariachi El Bronx?
the Bronx was this thrash metal band for
years, and they became wildly obsessed
with mariachi music, so these long-haired,
hard-core metal guys decided to take up
mariachi. I find myself always falling back
to their first album, Mariachi El Bronx,
especially when cooking. It’s up-tempo,
not too heavy and a fun story.
MUSIC TO CLEAN BY
these days, I clean my home kitchen to the
soundtrack of Frozen, because my two-year-old daughter is, like most young girls,
completely obsessed. I know every single
lyric to every single song.
MUSIC TO THINK ABOUT FOOD BY
this is nerdy, but [Food Network stalwart]
Alton Brown is now doing a stage show.
that’s on my must-see list. He sings and
dances; it’s called The Edible Inevitable Tour.
We go to the Wat Thai Temple L.A. in
North Hollywood on sundays. It’s the only
temple in America that has a thai-style
sunday school, so you see a bunch of kids
dressed up in uniforms learning thai instruments, dance, language and calligraphy. It’s
open to everybody to hang out. they also
have food stalls to raise money, where you
can get phenomenally delicious thai food.
Another sunday school, of sorts:
the podcast that I listen to religiously is
Penn’s Sunday School, by Penn Jillette
( pennsundayschool.com). He has one of
the most intelligent, funniest worldviews
ever. — Lisa Rosen