Jamie Brown is the chef at Southern Oaks Athletic Club and a sous chef with the local collective of "rebel chefs" called Gastreauxnomica. In addition to competing in Culinary Fight Club events in New Orleans, she has done pop-ups at Corporate Brew & Draft in Baton Rouge.

How did you develop your love of cooking?

I come from a big Italian family, so pretty much everything was centered around food. At about age 10, I started making dinner for my family, because I would be the first one home. By the time I was in high school, my mom was bragging to her friends that she would come home from work and have a three-course meal ready for her. It made my friends mad, because their parents were like, “Why don’t you do that?”

What is the best thing you’ve eaten recently at someone else’s restaurant?

Probably the osso buco at DiGiulio Brothers. It’s kind of hard to find an Italian restaurant now that does osso buco, but they have it down.

What is a relatively simple dish that you like to make at home?

My go-to recently has been shrimp and grits. I always have grits sitting around, and I usually have some shrimp in the freezer. If I have some peppers, I throw that in there. If I want to make it creamy, I might have some heavy cream left over from a baking project. You can change it around, and it’s relatively quick.

What is a dish you like to make for children?

My sister has twin girls. One thing I always liked to do with them was make-your-own pizzas. It gets them involved, and they can put whatever they want on it. You don’t have to worry about somebody not liking something. It’s relatively easy, and it’s relatively cheap.

What is your advice for aspiring chefs?

Be prepared to put in the work. It’s not all glamour and pretty dishes. It’s late hours, holidays and weekends. When you leave work, you’re sore and sweaty.

You need to surround yourself with positive people. People who will challenge you every day, and give you constructive criticism. And you need to listen to the constructive criticism.

How can an amateur cook improve?

Get out of your comfort zone. Learn new techniques. Learn new flavors, and how those flavors work together. You develop your palate that way.