Born and bred in the heart of Compton (California) in 1976,
as expected, the life of Joye Abney would be plagued with adversity for years to come. Surrounded by drug use and violence, Joye Abney strived for a better life and future. Unknowingly at the time, her trials, tribulations and rearing would attribute to a fearless culinary professional and lay the foundation of a successful Los Angeles based food-service company -- Ghetto Gourmet Cuisine.
Attributing all of her successes-to-date to her faith-based, supportive family unit, Joye resonates her learned values in her daily business methodology. Parents Emma and Reverend George Abney, Jr. were and still operate as a constant influence in Joye’s life, nourishing and encouraging their child all along the way. As the youngest of seven children, she never allowed herself to get lost in the bunch. The kitchen was a common meeting place in the Abney household; led by Emma Abney, Joye was thrusted into the world of food unwittingly. Before she knew it, Joye’s effortless food preparation skills would set the path for her future in The Culinary Arts. Today, she recognizes her gift as a “Blind Passion,” a love and passion to create magic for the senses that came naturally and one random day, finally “clicked.”
Despite assisting running a family trucking business, attending Brooks College, graduating from The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) with a focus on Interior Design, and mastering a B.A. of Technical Management Computer Science from DeVry University’s Engineering Program Joye was educated, yet not fulfilled. Joye needed a challenge; one
that she would respect, prosper and establish a legacy for the future.
Life always meant “Survival of the Fittest” to Joye, who not always made the best decisions and even questioned her own life’s meaning. Soon she would learn to forgive herself for her past transgressions and disappointment in self and look to God to lead her in the path she was set to pursue. For a year-and-a-half, Joye tussled with the idea of making cooking into a profitable profession, all-the-while everyone around her simply assumed she would thrive in the Interior Design Industry. Joye knew her calling would be greater. It was not until she was heavily encouraged in 2009 to meet with representatives at The Art Institute (Ai) of California, Inland Empire for Design, Media Arts, Fashion, and Culinary programs.
Joye Abney became Thee Chef J in less than the two years allotted by the program, graduating with honors, at the top of her class and a 3.79 GPA in 2011. Until this particular program of study, tasks came at ease to Joye. The facts of her life and experience now applied. This was her destiny.
Recalling her stint at the Ai, Chef J reflects on several insightful and empowering Chefs: Kellenberger, Edgar, Richardson and Vasquez; all of whom taught her confidence, drive and discipline. Notable Chefs Thomas Keller and Alice Waters continue to inspire Chef J for their creativity and out-of-the-box and unique cooking/plating styles. Waters; however, resonates with Chef J personally; she says, “Being a Woman in what they call a ‘Man’s Game’ provided motivation throughout my final semester.”
Her professional experience began as Line Cook and quickly progressed to Sous Chef at various high-end restaurants such as Seasons. Now a testament to "Following Your Dreams," Joye owns and operates a full-service, family-operated Gourmet Food company based in Los Angeles, where quality and customer service reign supreme.