Let us introduce you to the World's Tallest Chef, Jeff Goldfarb.
At 7 feet tall, Jeff holds a World Record as the tallest chef. When he decided to get into cooking instead of basketball, his coaches were less than thrilled, but Jeff didn't let that stop him. This charismatic and talented chef started cooking at age 16, and has kept at it for the past 25 years.
He attended Johnson an Wales for Culinary Arts, and continues to draw on that foundation. Jeff is a Chicago native and is active in Chicago's Meals on Wheels program.
Jeff talked to us about his career and life in the Windy City.
You're billed as the "World's Tallest Chef." Just how tall are you?
7 foot tall. Size 20 shoe. I have a trademark and official World Record from RecordSetter.com
How did you get into cooking? Was it always a love or was it something that evolved later in life?
I got into cooking in high school. My father had a career change during my freshman year in high school. The basketball and wrestling coaches all had their eyes on me. I was only 6 foot 4 then, but growing fast. My father went to the original CHIC - Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago. He became a traveling chef for Amtrak. I saw all this great food at home, and decided that being a chef was it for me. I stepped away from sports in high school and got a job at KFC. I came home smelling of fried chicken every night. My coaches mocked me and said I would not succeed as a cook/chef. Look at me now, Coach!! I always have loved being a chef, it just was hard to gain respect as people thought I should be playing basketball, and some people are still to this day intimidated by my height.
Do you have a style of cuisine you specialize in?
My style of cuisine is very diverse and international. I like to cook anything.
What's your very favorite thing to cook?
My favorite thing to cook is a pork loin marinated in light soy sauce, then brushed with Dijon mustard and crusted in a good quality crumbled blue cheese, then topped with oatmeal. It's good stuff. And I like to cook fried chicken or mussels with crusty bread.
What's the most rewarding part of being a chef?
Being able to see the people you are cooking for are happy. Or sometimes the food that I cook reminds people of a certain memory, like memories of home and family. Seeing empty plates.
You've got a cookbook for kids, right? How did you decide to write this and what can parents expect?
I do have a children's illustrated cookbook. It just evolved from my website. I had this idea to add something new and fun to my website. I decided to create some tongue-in-cheek artwork based around my persona or my alter ego, The World's Tallest Chef. I hired a few students from The Art Institute of Chicago. They created some amazing artwork that is now on my website. That artwork evolved and I created a cookbook. Parents can expect something similar to Willy Wonka, but a tour of a larger than life kitchen with The World's Tallest Chef. It will have family friendly recipes that can be made together.