Eddie Jackson Handles The Heat In The Kitchen With Whirlpool


How did you get interested in cooking?

I’ve been around cooking my whole life. My grandmothers were chefs growing up, so [when] I was five years old, that’s when I started cooking, making biscuits with my grandmother. That’s truly when I fell in love with food.

Do you have formal cooking training?

I didn’t go to culinary school, so to speak. I’ve been cooking all my life, I like to say, and all of my family members are cooks. Everything that I’ve done has been trial-and-error. I’ve learned on-the-go, and … I’m 41, and I’ve been cooking professionally since I was about 25. I got about 16 years under my belt, so the School of Hard Knocks is how I learned how to cook.

How did you go from being an NFL star and decided to completely switch gears and become a chef?

It’s really not that I switched gears, it’s that one chapter of my life closed, and I moved on to something else that I love. Sports was my first love, and food was after that. Once I finished playing football, I was like, “All right. What do I want to do now with food?” That’s what else I love, and that’s what I did, try to figure out exactly what I wanted to do with food.

Do you see similarities between being a chef and a professional football player?

There is a lot of similarities, especially the route that I took to become this “celebrity chef” on TV. I competed in “Food Network Star” seven years ago, which I won, and that was a very tough competition where I was there for about [11] weeks. Ultimately, I won because I was able to overcome so many obstacles throughout that competition. 

Some weeks, I would do really bad, go back, get coaching from Bobby Flay and Giada [De Laurentiis], and then come back the next week and do those things better and learn from my mistakes same way that I would if I was playing a football season. [We] can’t keep making the same mistakes, or we’re going to always lose the game. That mentality is what ultimately got me to win “Food Network Star.”



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