Photos courtesy of Chef J. Ponder
“Use your knowledge and expertise to help those who need it the most.”
When he was coming up, Chef Jacoby Ponder watched his strong, independent grandmother maintain and sustain a small farm in rural Monroe, Georgia. He watched her plant and harvest fresh vegetables—sweet potatoes, collard greens, and cabbages. He saw how she would wash off the red Georgia clay and use these vegetables to create something hearty for supper. “I unknowingly became her apprentice,” he says. “My craft is literally rooted with three main ingredients: love, passion, and flavor.”
Chef J. Ponder w/ members of his Chefpreneur Academy.
Ponder has made dishes for President George H.W. Bush, Vivica A. Fox, and others. He has also appeared on the Food Network’s Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen. In 2012, he was a finalist on Chopped. In 2014, he won Cutthroat Kitchen twice. Ponder served ten years in the U.S. Navy as a personal and private chef. Many years after his military service, he continues to use his gifts to help veterans and those on active duty. “My educational venture, Chefpreneur Academy, is a transitional training course that benefits both veterans and those on active duty,” he explains. “I teach and train personal development techniques as well as business savvy techniques on how to become an owner and not just a cook.”
Ponder is now working on his culinary series — Food for the Rich — where he highlights the delicious cuisine he cooks for some of his high-profile clients in their beautiful homes. He also has a brunch series called EAT.SIP.SOCIAL which includes the “Chef’s Table.” “It’s neat and new. Think concepts surrounding whimsical culinary favorites with coaching and very cool urban vibes,” he says. You can see the Chef’s video series on the brand-new streaming service, SoulVision.TV, which will launch this Valentine’s Day, February 14.
“My craft is literally rooted with three main ingredients: love, passion, and flavor.”
Ponder is looking forward to seeing where his gifts and passion take him. “I plan to continue to press the culinary envelope and figure out some way to show the world who I am as a true culinarian,” he says. He wants to join the Soulidifly Family very soon. “I hope it will come to fruition.” Chef Ponder will continue to use his culinary and communication skills to help people eat and live right.