Chef JMA

Dorjae' McClammey | May 21st, 2021
Chef JMA

Chef JMA

Good food and photography. Those are suitable words to describe Jeremy Mark Anthony.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, his family moved to Jamaica, England before finally settling in Washington, DC. Anthony was always a creative person. Growing up with a wonderful voice he performed with the Washington Performing arts society children of the gospel. He was later recruited by Thomas Dixon Tyler for his ministry. He also sang background for the artist, Jay. So, which gave him the chance to open for other artists like legacy and Musiq Soulchild.

With having such a heavy musical background, I bet you’re wondering, how did he get into cooking? Well even though Anthony is musically inclined he always loved to cook. His earliest memory is of him at four or five trying to bake a cake in and in his, it was an epic failure. He would always watch his mom cook but did not home in on the interest really until he was about 15 when he started to help with his aunt’s catering business. By then his parents had divorced and to help support his hard-working father Anthony would cook for himself and his brother. Once in college, he was always asked by friends and associates to cook for them, so he decided, hey why not turn it into a business. After that, he received his certification, worked with a few chefs, bettered his skills and it was up from there!

Anthony is a man of many talents. Singing, cooking, saxophone player, and on top of that photographer. When he attended Alabama A&M on a voice scholarship, they mainly focused on classical he wanted to switch to jazz. Sadly, the university did not have a jazz program so Anthony was forced to find another outlet, which of course became fashion shows with one of his close friends Andrea. Having different photographers at each event allowed him to see what he liked and what he did not and since people valued his opinion, they asked for his perspective much more.

“I started to then act as a creative director for the photographers in the area.”

He would go in, help create a concept and let them shoot it but even then, he would see certain angles or a vision that the photographers couldn’t capture. So as a result, Jeremy bought himself a camera and started taking pictures himself. He even shadowed a photographer in Vancouver one summer to help better his skill and ultimately switched his major from music to photography.
When asked what inspires him most his answer was, of course, music! The passion never went away, he still sings from time to time and has even had a chance to tour with other musicians.
“I’ll be driving and listening to something and it would put me in the mood of ‘I could do a ceviche and plate it in an oyster shell, hit it with some shrimp and pineapples with a passion twist on top”
Cooking in general has become an outlet for Anthony, it is where he truly finds peace. “In that moment when the music is going and I’m cooking it becomes more than just an outlet, it becomes meditation,” he says. Along with the satisfaction he receives from seeing other people enjoy his work.

Anthony has worked with many well-known creatives around the world including, celebrity photographer Dereck Blanks, CEO and founder of Mane Choice Courtney Adele, and The Aeolians. He also has a wide range of dishes, but his favorites are shrimp and grits. He stated, “I have the best shrimp and grits in the south and that’s on mother goose and all the nursery rhymes.” He has plenty of southern clients who can attest to this.

While he does enjoy being able to travel and amaze people with his food all over the world, Anthony did state that he would eventually like to have his own establishment. In the next four years, he plans on building his restaurant that will also act as an after-school program for kids in the community. This program will allow students to learn more about arts including, culinary, photography, ceramics, music, drawing, painting, and more.

Now as we all do, Anthony has had a few bumps in the road. The main one is knowing the value of his craft and as the artist himself. Was he charging too much or too little? Was he advertising himself well enough? Yet as he continues to grow and learn he has realized that you do not have to take on every client, you do not have to chase money, always know your worth and it is still a learning process.

Anthony had this final thing to say to our readers, “Never get comfortable, when you feel yourself being in a place of comfortability that means it’s time to strive for the next thing. We’re always learning, we’re always growing, so never get too comfortable in the state that you’re in. If you are creative, keep going, keep exploring, travel, open your box, and don’t stay boxed in.”

To learn more about Chef JMA, please visit his website.

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