Learning at his grandmother's side while watching her make traditional Puerto Rican dishes, eating his aunt's perfect crispy fried chicken, going grocery shopping with his mom....so much went into the the preparation and planning of a family meal. The result of sitting together to eat and enjoy made it all worth it.
Early on, these experiences instilled a passion for expressive flavors in Chef JJ as he began to follow the rhythm of the seasons. From home hearth to classical training, Chef JJ made the move to the Culinary Institute of America, giving a technical backbone to a well-laid foundation of food love.
He went on to hone his skills in some of New York’s most esteemed and demanding kitchens: Centro Vinoteca, Jane, and Tribeca Grill among them. Constantly in search of new flavors, Chef JJ also spent time in Ghana, studying West African cuisine and cooking at Villa Monticello, the country's premier boutique hotel. To put his skills to the ultimate test, he entered the food competition on Rocco DiSpirito's Dinner Party in 2011 and won the first episode.
Now Chef JJ is using his love of the flavors of the African diaspora and introducing them to new palates. Pulling from the Caribbean flavors he grew up with and combining them with African and Asian tastes acquired from his travels, The first Afro-Asian-American restaurant, The Cecil was so celebrated it was named Esquire's pick for the Best New Restaurant in America in 2014. The Cecil and Minton's recently merged, and Chef JJ's Afro-Asian-American flavors can now be found on the menu at Minton's.
Tiffany Minter is the Chef de Cuisine at Minton’s.
As a native New Yorker, Tiffany developed her love for food at a very young age, cooking for her family and experimenting with unique flavors and recipes. After getting her first taste of the culinary world at Monroe College, Tiffany earned a degree in Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts from the Art Institute of NYC in 2007.
Tiffany officially began her culinary career working under Jean Georges-Vongerichten at Vong, where she learned the art of ethnic fusion and fell in love with its unique ingredients, tastes and smells. From there, she expanded her culinary repertoire in the kitchen at 212 Restaurant and its Nuevo-American cuisine, then at Marcus Samuelsson’s Aquavit, learning Scandinavian techniques. Tiffany then worked for four years under Chef April Bloomfield at The Spotted Pig, the beloved Michelin-starred gastropub in New York City's West Village, where she truly discovered her passion for farm-to-table cooking. In 2013, Tiffany joined the team at The Cecil, bringing her diverse culinary expertise to the restaurant's Afro-Asian-American cuisine.
Most recently, Tiffany was listed as one of New York City’s Most Badass Female Chefs of 2016 by Thrillist and was among Zagat’s 2016 '30 under 30' in New York City.