Chef Josie Smith-Malave has a personality all her own. As fans saw on Top Chef: Los Angeles (Season 2), she is part cook and part rock and roll. And soon, she’ll be bringing that attitude and much more back to San Francisco.
Chef Josie brought her many culinary talents to the Bay Area in September, hosting her Global Soul Cafe at The Corner in the Mission. It allowed diners to get a sense of some of the places where she has traveled and lived, “digging deeper and finding the soul of each culture.” She started out with an ode to her hometown of Miami with a Cuban-South American menu, than went to her roots with Italian cuisine and rounded it out with a menu honoring San Francisco. The events were a hit and you can expect more in the future.
But pop-up restaurants won’t be the main focus for Chef Josie when she relocates permanently to San Francisco in February. She is launching a popsicle company, Queen of Pops, in early Spring, which will feature seasonal, all-natural, organic flavors. “I can’t reveal any of my secret flavors. I’ve been testing them on my friends. But they will be unique,” she said. “They will have lyrical names, combining my love of music and food. I wanted to have fun and when my friend came up with the popsicle idea, I just started developing flavors. So what turned into a side project has developed into a bigger idea.”
Besides building a popsicle empire, Chef Josie said she is also looking into a place for a pop-up. She said she loves the food scene in San Francisco and can’t wait to explore it further. “It’s great to see an entire community truly understand food,” she said. “In San Francisco, you’re feeding them what they want because they are educated consumers. They understand that eating organic is the right thing to do.”
That’s not all that she has on her plate. When she gets back into town (she is spending the holidays with her family in Miami), she will continue her weekly music/food inspired radio show Global Soul with Chef Josie (8-10 pm every Tuesday on FCC Free Radio), plans to launch her own line of “culinary tools” next year, work on a music-food TV show and also continue her work as a consultant and instructor. “I go into homes and go straight to the refrigerator, teaching people how they can eat better and live healthier and happier lives,” she explained. “I help them by going to their local grocery store with them, telling them what they should be buying and how they should be using those ingredients. I ask them, what makes it worth it to you? Food has been the glue that has held everything together for me and I try to show them the same thing.”
Chef Josie is hoping to show San Francisco about not only San Francisco food, but all of the wonderful cuisines she has experienced in her travels around the country. Defining the soul of a culture through food, music and the people she meets, Chef Josie plans to bring all her positive energy to San Francisco in 2012 and beyond.