Meet Jenn Nicken, the newest member of the Board of Advisors of the World Food Travel Association. Jenn is founder and CEO of The Chef & The Dish, a global marketplace for cooking classes, allowing people to Skype a chef from around the world into their home.
Q: Jenn, what is The Chef & The Dish?
A: The Chef & The Dish is the first of its kind. We let you Skype a chef from around the world into your home kitchen for private 1:1 cooking classes. Clients learn how to make the world’s most iconic dishes - all with 1:1 coaching from a chef who lives where the recipe originated. Our goal is to reinvent the night-in, transport people’s kitchens, and bridge food cultures and spread traditional culinary knowledge - in your own kitchen.
Q: Sounds like a great service for home cooks and foodies around the world. How did your interest in food/beverage tourism begin?
A: Growing up in Buffalo, New York, my hometown is a mecca for people seeking an authentic Buffalo chicken wing experience. My first trip abroad, however; was a culinary disaster. I was in my early 20’s and in France and didn’t have one good meal. We went unprepared thinking amazing French food would be on every corner. I was wrong. It was then that I realized I needed to put more time and effort into my culinary experiences. It then became a passion. I’ve now been fortunate to travel the world tasting the most iconic dishes in the countries where the dishes originated. Bolognese sauce in Bologna, Bretzels in Bavaria… I’ve developed a deep appreciation for authentic dishes, tasting how a recipe was intended to taste, encourage exploration and discovering of cuisines.
Q: We've all had experiences somewhere similar to the one you had in France. What are your top 3 favorite food/beverage destinations?
A: Anywhere in Italy (the simplicity of Italian food is something to be admired), Buffalo New York (it’s the taste of home, and there is no better place to get a real Buffalo Chicken Wing), Thailand (the complexity and balance of flavours makes for some of my favourite dishes).
Q: And why did you join the World Food Travel Association?
A: I’m excited to join a vibrant community of people value authentic food experiences. I’m looking forward to getting to know people that have shared professional and personal interests and to find unique ways to help each other achieve our goals.
Q: And what's next for The Chef and The Dish?
A: We’re excited to expand our services to new countries. We can’t wait to bring on new classes offering our customers the opportunity to learn how to cook the most famous dishes from countries around the world. We also will be working with local companies and tourism organizations to tell the culinary stories from their region.
On the Board of Advisors, Jenn represents the interests of North America (Canada) and serves on the Technology Committee.