We had the good fortune of connecting with Jason Wrobel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jason, how do you think about risk?
I feel that risk is a necessary component for personal growth and creative evolution. There are a lot of situations in life where we balance the risk/reward ratio. Years ago, at the beginning of my career, I had the pleasure of working with a well-known actor who I admired. One of the wisest adages he shared with me was, “Fortune favors the bold.” In my life, I’ve taken risks when I feel the potential reward on the other side is worth putting my neck on the line. Or, regardless of the perceived rewards, I sometimes take risks just because I know it’s going to challenge me to grow as an artist and human being. I’ve committed to creative projects not knowing exactly how the hell I was going to pull it off, but said yes anyway and figured out how to do it along the way. I personally feel more comfortable without a script or a concrete plan in place. Living in the amorphous possibilities and trusting my improvisational skills feels a lot more in my wheelhouse. I thrive more as an artist just making it up as I go.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve toggled between the culinary arts, music and performing for the past 20 years. For a long time, I felt an immense amount of pressure to pick one thing and just focus on growing it, but I’m naturally wired to be interested in multiple creative endeavors at once. This has made for an exciting, unique and difficult journey. People, media and society want to put you in a box so it’s easy for them to mentally compartmentalize what you do. But as a omniscopic creative chameleon, it confounds people sometimes. It’s been a hard road as a chef, musician and performer. But at the same time, my soul chose this. I sometimes feel like we are called to do certain things in life for a period of time and we can exercise our free will as to whether or not we’ll answer that call. The biggest challenges I’ve faced over my 20-year career has honestly been from within. Crippling self-doubt and falling into the comparison trap are the two biggest hurdles that, at times, I’m still reckoning with. I’ve also danced with clinical depression over the past 6 years and that’s been a major lesson in stepping back from my career to take better care of my mental health and emotional wellness. Somehow, though, I feel like all of the pain, challenges and setbacks have molded me into the person I am now. I didn’t ask for an easy road. But the bumps along the way have someone created this beautiful patchwork of experiences that I’m really proud of.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is a tough one, because there’s so much that I love to do in Los Angeles. I think we’d start by jumping on my flaming tangerine motorcycle to grab breakfast at my fav spot, Kitchen Mouse in Highland Park. We’d hit up Donut Friend to wash it down with one of their stellar creations. Then to Maru Coffee in the DTLA Arts District for the best matcha latte in the city. We’d visit Pura Vita Pizzeria in WeHo for an insane Italian lunch and skip over to Cosmic Vinyl in Echo Park to look for old T-Rex and Parliament albums. Later in the week, we’d go to see a show at Zebulon in Frogtown (dreaming when they’ll open again!) For some nature time, the hot springs and Matilija Canyon in Ojai would lure us in. After, we’d nosh at Farmer and the Cook and go for a sunset meditation at Meditation Mount. Definitely would have to nab some bento boxes from N-Naka and the hippie ramen from Tatsu. Lastly, we’d go for a float tank sesh at Pause Float Studio. A damn fine week, indeed.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to acknowledge two people in my life: my Mother Susan and my mentor Michael. They have both been beacons of inspiration, support and bedrocks in my often chaotic and tumultuous life. I’ve been through a lot of chameleonic changes in my artistic career. No matter what, they have offered up their wisdom, perspective, solace and unconditional love. They are the pillars in my life.
Jeff Skeirik, Rawtographer Chef Ito Photo