Culinary Queens Of Colorado Springs – Chef Janon Bourgeois

Every now and then you come across a human that radiates energy and light.  Their personality is magnetic, and you find yourself absolutely drawn to them.  This is how I feel whenever I am around Chef Janon Bourgeois.  I know it sounds like I have a bit of a girl-crush, and maybe I do, but she is the REAL DEAL! 

Chef Janon

I met Chef Janon through culinary classes at The French Kitchen in Colorado Springs.  I enjoyed my first class with her so much that I have taken 2 since and have 2 more future classes on the roster for spring/summer! She taught me how to make CHEESE y’all!  For those of you who don’t know it yet, I am obsessed with cheese in all forms.  Now that I can call myself a cheesemaker, I am forever grateful to Chef Janon for teaching me this life skill. And naturally, I signed for Cheese Class 2!

My fresh mozzarella ball!

I recently interviewed Chef Janon, for my March addition of Culinary Queens of Colorado Springs and here is what she shared:

1. Tell us about your culinary background. 

My adolescent goal was to be a doctor, pediatrician in fact, but the universe had other plans. I ended up in hotel sales and marketing. At the height of my career, I was the Assistant Director of Corporate Leisure Sales and Marketing for MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas, NV. It was a fabulous job full of fancy dining experiences and party planning. After my son was born, I knew that the travel schedule did not allow me the time I wanted with my little man so at the age of 30, I followed my bliss to Oregon Culinary Institute, where I graduated with honors. In the last 13+ years, I’ve worked with and for phenomenal Chefs, owned and operated my own restaurant and catering company, and even trained as a professional butcher for 2 years. My family and I took a tremendous leap of faith and moved to rural France in the Fall of 2019 to run an English-speaking cooking school and bed & breakfast. As we all know, 2020 was unkind but with magic, grace and the help of my brother and his amazing crew, we found our way to Colorado Springs where The French Kitchen became my new home. Now I teach this outstanding community and thoroughly enjoy each and every class and the beautiful cast of characters that are my work family.

2. Who or what inspired you to become a chef?

Honestly, The Food Network. I came up in the 90s and 00s and was utterly obsessed with professional cooking. Chefs ARE the coolest.

3. What is your signature dish?  What do you hate to cook?

LOVE = Gumbo (I have to live up to the Bourgeois name) and Biscuits & Gravy 

HATE = Chicken. Once you’ve had salmonella, chicken scares the you-know-what out of you. Luckily, I get to teach my Chicken Expert class and share all my safety tips so that they don’t suffer the same fate.

4. Do you have a cooking philosophy?

Cooking is art required for survival.

5. What are 3 kitchen tools you won’t cook without?

Tongs, a sturdy spoon and MUSIC!

6. Who is your favorite celebrity chef and why?  

Jamie Oliver. I’ve had a SUPER CRUSH on him since The Naked Chef first aired. I adored the way he’d jump on his bike and take off through the streets of London, introduce us to his favorite vendors then head home and show us how to make something amazing. Every episode I would say “I want that life!”

7. If you could give just one piece of advice to a home chef, what would it be?

CONFIDENCE. That’s it. Give yourself a sturdy base to cut on and faith in yourself. 

8. What has been your proudest moment in your career thus far?

There are too many to choose from, truly, and they keep happening week after week. I am blessed and grateful for every day that I get to be in the kitchen.

9. What words of wisdom would you give to a woman headed into the culinary world?

Honor yourself, your values and your voice. Trust yourself, your values and your voice and yes, you ABSOLUTELY CAN DO IT, regardless of time, age or previous experience.

10.  Where do you see yourself in 10 years? (Hopes and dreams?)

Teaching culinary for certain. It’s in my soul. I would also love to host food tours all over the world. By that I mean, plan AND play tour guide.

As you can see, Chef Janon is a fascinating lady.  She has experienced all aspects of the Culinary World.  If you’re thinking she hasn’t been on TV yet, you’re mistaken.  She has done 2 live cooking segments on our local Fox channel as well as 2 segments on our local ABC Affiliate.  I was very impressed with her confidence and natural ability in front of the camera.  She easily connected with her co-host, the audience, and she even busted out a few dance moves as well!  She is destined to be the next Food Network Star.   (Maybe I should get her autograph before she gets too famous!) 

For those of you who have considered taking a cooking class, I highly recommend The French Kitchen. Chef Janon and the owner of The French Kitchen, Blandine Mazeran, are both fantastic instructors.  The classes are fast paced, filled with abundant recipes/dishes, and you will leave with a lot of goodies!  Remember, “Cooking is art, required for survival.”

Chef Janon and Chef Blandine

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