I had the wonderful pleasure of interviewing Chef Benel, co-owner of Bettie’s Restaurant and Bettie’s Catering.
During our conversations, I was struck by Chef Benel’s passion for food, attention to detail, and attention to the dietary needs of his clients. His dishes reflect his outlook on modern cuisine and the quality of the ingredients he uses.
The teachings of his mother shaped Chef Benel’s humble beginnings. He is also incredibly humble, a hard worker, and a great role model.
I am confident that Chef Benel will continue to achieve great things in his restaurant and the culinary world. He is a true inspiration to his siblings, family, clientele, and the Haitian community.
Biography of Chef Benel
Benel Jn Francois, also known as Chef Benel, was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and raised in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, and Santiago, Dominican Republic. He is the Co-Owner and Executive Chef of Bettie’s Restaurant, a modern Haitian restaurant in Jersey City, NJ, known for its ambiance and tasty dishes, and Bettie’s Catering, a catering company dedicated to hosting private dinner parties and events around the USA.
Chef Benel discovered his love for food while working for his mother’s catering business. There he learned how to develop flavors and create dishes. Passionate about cooking, he is always learning new techniques and has taken various classes with talented chefs around NY. All those experiences have shaped his unique cooking style.
UPCOMING EVENTS Happy Hour at Bettie’s Restaurant from 6-9 pm every Thursday.
Let’s get a bit more personal and comfortable with Chef France.
1) Tell us about yourself.
I was born in Haiti and raised in Santiago, Dominican Republic. My father passed away when I was young, and my mother moved us to the Dominican Republic to start a new life. She was a talented cook, and she soon started a catering company that became very successful. From a young age, I helped her out in the kitchen and quickly fell in love with cooking.
After college, I majored in Business Administration but continued to cook on the side. I eventually became a personal chef, cooking for clients all over the United States. I loved sharing my Haitian heritage through food and knew I wanted to open my own restaurant someday.
The opportunity came when I met my fiancée, who is also a talented cook. We decided to open Bettie’s Restaurant in Jersey City, named after my mother. We are passionate about sharing our love of Haitian food with the world, and we are committed to creating a dining experience that is both delicious and authentic.
I am grateful for the opportunity to share my story and excited to see what the future holds for Bettie’s Restaurant holds. I believe that Haitian food has the potential to be enjoyed by people all over the world, and I am committed to making that happen.
2) Tell us about your interests, hobbies, and what you like to do for fun.
My hobbies include working out, traveling, and spending time with family and friends. However, my favorite hobby is cooking. I love experimenting with new techniques and cuisines and find creating delicious and visually appealing dishes incredibly rewarding.
3) When making career decisions, what matters most to you?
I decided to be a chef because I love cooking and want to build a lasting legacy for my family and kids. I believe that food is a powerful way to connect with people and share culture, and I want to use my skills to create delicious and memorable dishes that will be enjoyed for generations to come.
4) What doesn’t Culinary Arts mean to you?
Culinary art is a dish showcasing a chef’s imagination, individuality, culture, and personality. To me, the ultimate goal of culinary art is to turn food into art. It must taste good, but it must also look appetizing.
- Culinary art is a way to express creativity and share culture.
- It is a way to connect with people and create memories.
- It is a way to celebrate the beauty of food.
- It is a way to challenge oneself and learn new things.
- It is a way to make a difference in the world.
I believe that culinary art is a powerful force for good. It can bring people together, it can inspire creativity, and it can make the world a more beautiful place.
5) What is one piece of advice your parents gave you that has stuck with you?
My mother always told me that if I put God first in everything I do, and I do it with love and focus, I would be successful in life.
Her advice has guided and is continuing to guide me in everything I do. I have learned that putting God first means living a life according to His will. It also means to follow His commandments and seek His guidance in all things. It means putting your heart into everything you do and staying focused on your goals even when things get tough.
6) Favorite childhood game(s)?
My favorite childhood game was soccer. I loved the feeling of running around on the field, kicking the ball, and scoring goals. I also loved the camaraderie of being on a team and working together to win.
7) Favorite Haitian snack(s)?
My favorite Haitian snack is Cassave (Cassava) with Coconut.
8) Favorite Haitian dish(es)?
9) Social Media
Facebook: Benel Jn François