A Father’s Day with Celebrity Chef Jet Tila and his Family

  • Jet, tell us about your background and formal education.

My parents moved to the US in 1966 and started the first Thai restaurants and markets in the history of the US in 1972. I worked in every position between all of their business. I dropped out of high school and then went to French and Japanese Culinary Schools. I had a combination of formal training and real-life experience.

  • When did you realize you had a passion for cooking?

I’ve been cooking since I was a kid until now so it was never a passion until I realized in my 20’s that I really was good at it and enjoyed it.

  • How did you meet your wife, Ali? Did you win her heart with your cooking skills?

While cooking in restaurants I was also teaching at many home stores in LA like Sur LA Table where young professionals took recreational classes. Ali attended many of those classes in the mid 2000’s. I left for Las Vegas where she came and visited. That’s where we started our romance years later. She loves cooking as much as I do and we’ve bonded over it. She was a full-time special ed teacher for 15 years then retired to help me build our business. She then went to pastry school, wrote a book with me and we’ve been married 11 years now.

  • You have two children. What family traditions did you learn from your parents that you apply at your home.

Ren is 7 and Amaya is 10. Being a mixed family our family traditions come from Europe and Asia. We have a great food culture in-house, being Thai, Chinese, and Irish.

  • Describe a typical dinner at the Tila's home? Do you fusion American food with Asian techniques when you cook at home?

A week of meals can be fried rice, roasted chicken, sushi, Teriyaki to shepard’s pie. It’s never really fusion more than it’s a meal from one region.

  • How do you celebrate Father’s Day with your kids?

The kids and Ali will usually wake up early and make breakfast together. We have breakfast and open gifts. I’ll do the same for Ali on mother’s day. It’s important that everyone helps cook the meal. We also ask that the kids hand make cards and gifts.

  • Please leave a final message to all the parents reading this article.

Food is such an important part of family culture. It’s a time to learn, teach, put down the devices and talk. There are so many lessons too in cooking, math, history, geography, science and it keeps the kids involved.

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