Jessica Vogel found her love of cooking at a young age. Her parents divorced when she was in 1st grade, but weekly she visited with her father and recollects their cooking adventures. “My dad lived in a bachelor pad condo in Northern New Jersey. Most of my visits, I would search his refrigerator to find condiments, tonic water and old Chinese food, but every so often there would be an abundance of peppers, Andouille sausage and Tasso ham. That’s when I knew it was Jambalaya time!”
As a child, she would draw pictures of the restaurant that she and her father would “someday run together”. Unknowing her, the road to accomplish this would be quite rough.
At the age of 16, Jessica entered the restaurant business as a hostess. She encountered the first of many demeaning machismo personalities in the hospitality field. This was discouraging at first, but lead to the growth of thicker skin and an eagerness of respect.
After holding every front of the house position, Jessica took a hiatus from the restaurant business to focus on viticulture. For two years, she studied under one of the most renounced wine distributors in New Jersey. This helped her develop a savvy palette with food and beverage pairing. The next career move changed her entire spectrum of the hospitality business.
Jessica began working at a successful catering and restaurant business. The high volume of food flowing out of the small kitchen presented Jessica with the opportunity to help prep with the chefs in the back. After several months of working with the executive chef and proving her efficiency to “bang out” food, the kitchen began utilizing Jessica to come up with menu ideas, incorporate her recipes and become a part of the back of the house operation. As Jessica’s palate was introduced to new and fresh ingredients her culinary curiosity proceeded to grow. She decided her next step was to attend culinary school at Johnson and Wales University in Denver, CO.
Culinary School proved to be a wonderful expansion on Jessica’s quest for knowledge. She returned to New Jersey and worked within some of the top restaurants in the state. After conquering some Jersey’s best, Jessica decided to pack her bags and head to the land where dreams are fulfilled, California.
Upon living in Orange County, Jessica was presented with the challenge to work in a bakery where her pastry skills were put to the test. Not her initial forte, but working with baking and pastry was seen as an advantage to learn another skill in the culinary field. Nearly a year after working at the bakery, Jessica began to thrive for the savory side of the kitchen. The craving was beyond satisfied by one of the greatest culinary experiences in her career. Working for Chef Gordon Ramsay.
Chef Jessica obtained the opportunity to be on Hell’s Kitchen during a job search on Craig’s List. “I was living outside of LA and came across a casting ad in the hospitality section. I clicked on the link that was for Hell’s Kitchen on Fox Season 12 casting and decided to give it a shot. Why not, right?!”
The response snowballed into the huge opportunity to work next to her cooking icon, Chef Ramsay. “It was a jaw dropping, incredible experience! Chef Ramsay was amazing and I learned so much. I wouldn’t have changed a thing about my time on the show!”
Since the show stopped filming, Jessica returned to New Jersey and is still working in the top restaurants of the state. She was the executive pastry chef under local celebrity chef, Christine Nunn, for a year where her desserts were adorned by regular customers. In addition to working behind the line, Chef Jessica has branched out to form her own private catering company, Chef Jersey Jess LLC.
Jessica Vogel is as passionate with each passing day about creating beautiful and outstanding food! She prepares each culinary creation with love and is inspired to quench as many appetites as possible!