We had the good fortune of connecting with Jermaine “Chef Raw” Rawlings and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jermaine “Chef Raw”, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My thought process behind starting my own business was actually pretty random. I would host Thanksgiving dinner in LA for all of the fellow transplants that didn’t get a chance to go home for the holidays. We also used to host epic Caribbean night where I would cook Jerk Chicken, Curry Chicken, Rice and Peas, and a lot of other items. This gave me quite the reputation as an amazing cook amongst friends. Once I got out of the Air Force while attending USC’s Marshall School of Business one of my friends convinced me to audition for the show Master Chef. I ended up making it all the way to the Top 100, but unfortunately I didn’t make it past the final cut. After seeing I had what it took to make it that far I opted to sharpen my skills and start Frat Boy Cuisines.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Getting where I am today was not easy. There was a lot of trial and error as well as a lot of bumps in the road. From not having equipment that you didn’t know you needed to messing up timelines due to piss poor preparation. The things that set me apart are my attention to detail, presentation, professionalism, and the fact that I curate specific experiences for each of my clients. I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish culinarily without any traditional training/school, I’ve actually never even worked in a restaurant since I was in high school (if Taco Bell counts).
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If I had some friends visiting the city the first stop would be my favorite Korean BBQ spot called Hae Jang Chon located in……. Ding Ding Ding Korea Town! I would also take them to an Inglewood staple called the Serving Spoon to get some good soul food/brunch. They have some fried turkey chops that will make you stop eating pork. Except for bacon we all know bacon is its own food group. Next on the list would be Manhattan beach to enjoy the California weather. You could also park/picnic at Bruce’s Beach which is located in the heart of Manhattan Beach. Lastly, I would host some type of house party so they can experience the vibes that made me fall in love with LA.
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?
Through my journey I have had many mentors and contributors to my success. First and foremost I may have never gotten where I am today if my wife hadn’t helped me get everything up and running as well as supporting me through the whole process. My culinary mentor and friend Jourdan “Chef Red Beard’ has helped me hone my skills as a Chef and has been essential in successfully executing countless events. Last but not least my friend and Frat Brother Trell Thomas used his platform “The Black Excellence Brunch” to help springboard my business and I have made great connections through these events. Having a tribe of friends who offer their support and continue to send clientele my way has been instrumental to my success and I thank you all.