Oregon man competing to be world's Favorite Chef
Crook County High School alumnus Jamar Adams has had the opportunity to travel the world, work along some of the world's famous chefs, and be a lead chef at one of Central Oregon's finest resorts.
His story begins at the young age of six, when Adams moved to Prineville and attended Crook County schools until he graduated in 1999. Being an avid athlete in high school, he went to college to play baseball for three years in California, before joining the United States Army in 2002.
In 2003 and 2004, he had his first deployments to Iraq. He then joined special forces and was a Green Beret in Fort Lewis, Washington, for 10 years.
While he served in the military, he had the opportunity to travel extensively in southeast and southwest Asia, Germany and throughout the region.
"I got the chance to eat a lot of different types of food. The job that I had afforded me the opportunity to eat with the local population more almost than I was eating Americanized food. That plays a large part in my palate and how diverse it is," Adams explained.
He thinks that the time he has spent in different parts of the world has played a large part in the choices that he makes when making a dish at Solomon's, his restaurant for the past two years.
"I think that plays a large role," he noted of the influence of his military travels.
He chose to get out of the military in 2015. When leaving his military service, he knew he needed to choose what he would like to do for his new career.
"When I got out of the military, I asked myself the question of, 'What is something I enjoy doing, what can I do for the rest of my adult life every day and enjoy it?' It was cooking, and I really enjoy it, and I have always enjoyed, so I figured I would give it a shot."
His grandmother was also a big influence on his love of cooking.
"A lot of things I do in the kitchen are things that she taught me," Adams added.
He chose to attend a culinary school in Portland called Cordon Bleu, which he was able to attend with his GI Bill from the military. In 2016, after completing his culinary school, he moved back to Central Oregon and his first job cooking was at Crossroads BBQ Pit and Pub.
He worked there for a few months until another opportunity presented itself, and he met his mentor chef, who lived in Bend. His journey led him to Tetherow Resort, where he initially worked for the Row, a pub-style, casual, family friendly dining experience. From there, he moved up to Solomon's, a fine dining restaurant in Tetherow, with a rotating menu which highlights vibrant offerings from the Pacific Northwest, thoughtfully prepared alongside vegetarian creations and decadent desserts.
Adams is now head chef at Solomon's, which is where he has been for the past two years. He had an opportunity to go on a special trip to New York City, New York, last year to work at one of Charlie Palmer's restaurants for a week.
"He has a bunch of restaurants, and he happens to be friends with somebody who I know over here at Tetherow," recalled Adams of his unique experience. "They flew me out New York City for a week, and I got to go hang out in this really high-end restaurant and learn from some of the best in the business right now in the world."
When he came back in February 2020 from his New York trip, he was offered the lead chef role at Solomon's. He shared that his signature dish is a French classic, sole meuniere lightly breaded petrale filet draped over wild rice pilaf with herb lemon asparagus and finished with fresh parsley and brown butter, caper reduction and fresh lemon.
Recently, Adams found out from friends about the Favorite Chef contest and decided to throw his name in the hat. Chefs from around the world are invited to compete in the competition to be named the world's Favorite Chef. The winnings include $50,000 and the opportunity to be featured in a two-page advertising spread in Bon Appétit announcing the winner.
"I did it, and not thinking that I would get a text or call back or anything," said Adams.
He received word shortly after that he was officially in the contest and submitted a profile and some photos. The first round ended Feb. 25, and he learned he was in the top 15, which qualified him for the next round, which will narrow down to the final 10. The next round ends March 4.
In his profile, he responded to what he would do with the winning proceeds.
"I believe that winning this competition will not only boost my culinary career, it will put me in a position to learn more and give back."
The main website for the Favorite Chef Contest can be found at:
Jamar Adams is in the top 10 for the current contest, and voting will continue until March 4 at 6 p.m.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.