Q+A with Chef Jenne Claiborne
We are so thrilled to welcome Jenné Claiborne to the by CHLOE. family!
Chef + Youtube extraordinaire, Jennè Claiborne will be collaborating with by CHLOE. to bring you even more delicious menu items and monthly specials at our by CHLOE. locations, and they’ll be sharing their cooking, health, and life tips with you right here on the blog.
Jenné is a vegan chef, blogger and Youtuber of the popular Sweet Potato Soul. She loves sharing her soulful, delicious, and easy-to-make vegan recipes with the world. With past experience in acting, she brings a fun and cheerful vibe to all of her videos, walking fans through her latest recipes and healthy tips.
Jenné shared with us what got her into cooking, blogging, and why she’s so excited for this partnership.
by CHLOE.: Introduce yourself.
Jenné Claiborne: I’m Jenné Claiborne, a vegan chef, blogger, and Youtuber. I moved to NYC to become an actress, but after becoming vegan I decided that I needed to change my career plans and help others adopt a plant-based diet. It was the best decision!
bC: Why are you excited to partner with by CHLOE.?
JC: by CHLOE. is showing people that vegan food can be more delicious, interesting, and satisfying than non-vegan foods. I love that by CHLOE. serves up a number of familiar dishes, appealing to folks who might not usually try a vegan meal. I’m excited to share my passion for vegan food and living with this beautiful community, and to help shatter the myth that veganism is only for fancy people. Anyone can be vegan!
bC: What inspired you to start Sweet Potato Soul?
JC: I started my blog and Youtube channel to share my recipes and vegan journey with others. I didn’t see a lot of people who looked like me in the vegan world, so I figured I ought to put myself out there. I also yearned for a culinary creative outlet, and Sweet Potato Soul has become that for me.
bC: Where did you come up with that cute name?
JC: Thank you! Sweet potatoes have always been one of my favorite foods, and they remind me of my family and home. I love that they can be used in so many ways, and they always spark my creativity. I thought they deserved to be in the name of my food blog. I grew up eating soulfood made by my Nana, and I make sure to add a ton of soul to whatever I’m cooking. Sweet Potato Soul means creativity, love, soul, and good living.
bC: You’ve been a personal chef, health and cooking instructor, run your blog, Youtube, and a healthy meal plan program. How do you do it all?
JC: Well, I no longer have time to be a personal chef. I’m lucky to work with my boyfriend, Maxx Loup, on all of my Youtube videos. It’s all a lot of work, but it’s so much fun. Showing up every day is so easy when your job is all about being creative and eating delicious food.
bC: You were born and raised in Atlanta. How has that influenced your cooking?
JC: I love Southern food so much! Our food gets a bad rep for being super unhealthy, but Southern food is so much more than meat, fried food, and butter. Southern ingredients like collard greens, sweet potatoes, beans, fresh fruit, and spices make their way into my recipes quite often. These are the flavors I grew up on in Atlanta, not so much of the unhealthy stuff.
bC: Is it hard at times to cook delicious food with soul and make sure it’s still healthy?
JC: That depends. For special occasions we’d have fried food or bake decadent desserts, but on a daily basis greens, fresh fruit, beans, and whole grains were served. Even unhealthy southern foods can be made nutritious: by swapping refined sugar with a wholesome sweetener, replacing white flour with whole wheat, baking instead of frying, and––most importantly––getting rid of all animal products (meat, dairy, eggs).
bC: What’s your fav thing you’ve ever cooked?
bC: What’s your favorite dish at by CHLOE.?
JC: Definitely the Spicy Thai Salad (but I replace the dressing with the agave-lime dressing from the Quinoa Taco salad because I’m allergic to peanuts). It is the perfect combination of texture, flavor, and freshness. I drool just thinking about that salad.
bC: What does “Eat well. Eat with purpose.” mean to you?
JC: It means to eat food that is absolutely delicious, healthy, and beautiful. “Eat with purpose” represents eating compassionately and cruelty-free; vegan!
1. Nickname? Néné
2. Sweet or savory? Both at the same time!
3. Favorite food? Sweet potato pie
4. Kitchen appliance that you most identify with? My Cuisinart food processor
5. Song lyrics you most identify with? “We gon’ be alright!”
6. Spirit animal? Elephant
7. Weird personal fact? I played Princess Tiana of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog movie in a live show in NYC.
8. Choice super hero power? Invisibility
9. Hosting a dinner with 4 people (dead or alive), who would you invite? Both of my grandmothers, Toni Morrison, and Maya Angelou.
10. Dream getaway? Madagascar
12. Kitten or puppy? Puppy
13. Go-to workout? Yoga
14. Juice or smoothie? Chocolate banana smoothie