Jason Rivas on Cooking Inspiration

This is the second half of an interview with Jason Rivas.

Jason answers a couple of questions about his inspiration as a chef.

Who might be your Chef Idol?

I idolize Gordon Ramsay and if given the chance I would give anything to work with him.

I first learned of Ramsay during the first season of ‘Hell’s Kitchen,’ and at first I did not think much of him.  In fact, I thought he was a crock, “no proper chef would act that way.”  As time went on I learned more about who Ramsay was and more about who ‘FOX’ made him out to be.

I have learned that Ramsay is a “bad man”, talented, skilled, extremely knowledgable and yes passionate.  You have to be passionate in this industry or you will just be a dishwasher for the rest of your life.  Yes, he is loud, dirty and at times rude, but truth be told he jut gives it to them straight.

“I give it to them straight and dirty, cause straight and dirty sticks.” – G.S. Patton

What’s your inspiration in the kitchen?

“Thank you!” Although passion is my main drive, I too have mentors.  If ever given the chance to meet some of them, just a very simple, humble “thank you” would come out.

I had the chance to meet Jamie Oliver at his Restaurant Fifteen in London once.  When the chance came and I was able to speak to him(in my naiveness) I asked, “Why did you build your restaurant here?”  After his answer I realized I had a huge misconception of things and was insulting.  Before I left, though, I did get another chance to say “thank you” for EVERYTHING.

My mentors are just a wealth of knowledge, I truly don’t believe it would be possible to learn all I wish with one moment or one question.  However, all my mentors are family men, so one question does loom…”How do you balance being a devoted family man, while at the same time stay devoted to the craft?”…something I am still trying to figure out.

Thank you Jason for sharing both your off hours exploits and what motivates and drives you in the kitchen.
Jason has a blog with recipes, wisdom, and even a few photos of his creations – dinnerbyjr.
I couldn’t pass up the chance to share a couple of food pictures Jason sent along.
Pork Boliche over Estate Vegetable

Pork Boliche over Estate Vegetable


Chili Rubbed Beef Brisket

Chili Rubbed Beef Brisket

Off Hours with Jason Rivas


Jason Rivas - chef, father, cook in chef's top and hat

Jason Rivas

Jason Rivas, husband, father, model builder. Oh yeah, he cooks too.

Jason took time out of his off hours to talk about life out from the kitchen.

I’m sure you’ll enjoy his thoughts on family, food, and fun.

Cooking isn’t everything, what’s on your calendar when not preparing food?

Twitting! I have become addicted to Twitter lately; mostly focusing on self-exposure and self promotion.

I have also become an avid gardener.  Being in the garden, tending to my vegetables, and teaching my kids how to grow vegetables; it’s all very relaxing.

Lastly, I love to play with my kids, as they love to wrestle.

Jason Rivas Twitter avatar


What’s your big hobby besides cooking?

Just recently I have become hooked on reading; which I find ironic, cause I hated reading as a kid.  Give me alone time on the front porch with a good fantasy book and I’m set. Currently, I am reading “The Hobbit.”  I also like to read good cooking periodicals.

However, I look forward to the day when life slows down and I can go back to my true passion of building plastic models; preferable war vechicles.

Gotta love this completed tank model.

model tank by Jason Rivas with tiger stripes and face, teeth showing

Tiger Tank

What other careers have you been in or would do if you couldn’t create food masterpieces?

An earliest dream from childhood was to be an USMC Drill Instructor.  I saw “Full Metal Jacket” early on and said, “that’s what I want to be.”  When I finished high school I applied for The USMC; I was told no.  I argued their decision for 2 years with no luck.  I later found it was GOD saying no-notThe USMC.

What do you do for food off hours?

I love to bake desserts, cookies, bread – just truly love the art of baking; it is a guilty pleasure of mine. As a savory restaurant Chef my opportunities to bake are limited. I also love cooking for my family. After all, without my family I would be nothing; cooking for them is the least I could do.

To eat: I love a good sandwich – PB & J is the best. Fresh bread, wholesome ingredients, good flavors, nothing beats a bad ass hoagie. However, I am a sucker for sushi too.

What’s your favorite recipe? Could you share it with the readers?

Favorite recipe, now that is a hard one. Recently, I have created a site – dinnerbyJR – where I can share my creations (bread, desserts, cookies, wine pairings, dinner and more) and others can follow along in the journey. Though, my wife’s favorite is (my) Liquid Center Cake.

4oz dark chocolate
2oz butter
2 eggs, separated
2 oz sugar
pinch of salt
1. melt chocolate and butter togther over a double boiler or in the mircowave, stirring till melted
2. once the chocolate mix is melted and smooth, stir in egg yolks and sugar(reserve 1tbs of sugar).
3. whip egg whites with the reserved sugar to a stiff peak.
4. preheat your oven to 400*. fold egg whites into the chocolate mix. fold till fully incorporated, careful not to deflate the egg whites to much.
5. grease an oven proof bowl, then dust the inside of the bowl with coco powder. bake for about 15-20 mins. the edges should be cakie while the center liquid. Cooking time will be effected by the desired size of the liquid center depending on the size. EX: more cook time = smaller liquid center.
6. ENJOY! eat while while hot, just be careful, with your favorite ice cream(if you so choose).

Jason shared a few bits of wisdom as well.

  • you can be taught techniques and skills, but you can not be taught passion
  • never stop learning. the best way to learn is to know what the person next is doing
  • have the answer before the question is asked
  • be the example not the exception
  • great ones live to cook, not cook to live
  • “folks take my advice, pull down your pants and take a slide on the ice” – M.A.S.H.

Thank you Jason for taking time out for these interview questions. He shared so much I’ve extended his kitchen inspiration to a second part.

Jason was introduced to me over Twitter. Thank you to Lois Martin, @loismarketing.


 Off Hours with Jason Rivas originally posted on http://offhourscook.com.

Cooking up an interview

Blue Yeti Mic with off camera flash
First interview is one the way with Chef M. Fortner of Global Culinary Designs.

He and I connected through Twitter and met in person not long after.

I’ve tossed a few non work related questions his way. Don’t expect behind the scenes tips or his secret recipes.

This is Off Hours Cook time.

Drop a comment here or shoot me an email requests@offhourscook.com.


Off the clock with real chefs

Chef's Assistant

It’s time to indulge the foodie curiosity.

What do professional chefs cook when they’re not cooking for you?

Making steaks by day does she roast pigs at home or hot dogs?

The goal is to find chefs and cooks across town and across the world and give them five minutes to peak out from the kitchen.   We’ll be getting the Joes and Janes on here as well as a few big names.

Who’s your favorite famous or better yet local cook or chef? Do they deserve a little attention? Send them my way.

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