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#RedefineAtoZ: James Syhabout, Michelin chef, finds inspiration in the past

With his debut cookbook in 2018, Michelin chef James Syhabout draws inspiration from his past to celebrate his heritage.
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NAME: James Syhabout

AGE: 38

HOMETOWN: Oakland, California

TWITTER: @james_syhabout / INSTAGRAM: @jamessyhabout

How do you introduce yourself?

My name is James Syhabout and I have a love for playing with food.

What inspires you?

What inspires me is the past. No matter if it's people or events but the outlook on life as a whole. Looking backwards, even if it's yesterday, and thinking how can I make today more fruitful and meaningful.

What challenges you?

What challenges is me most is finding ways to keep things simple but still electric and exciting. Findings ways to be minimal conjoining with having the most impact.

Tell us about the biggest risk you ever took.

The biggest risk I have ever taken was opening my own restaurant. It was a large self-learning endeavor.

What are you reading/watching/listening to these days?

At the moment I am reading the current issue of Time magazine, watching "Lego Ninjago" with my young children and loving it, and listening to a wide range of music from Billy Idol, Milt Hinton, and Maxo Kream.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what career would you want to pursue?

A music producer or pro athlete.

What’s your motto?

Be the flow rather than just rolling with it.

I celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month because…

... I am very proud to be an Asian American.

NBC Asian America Presents: A to Z aims to celebrate the emerging voices and breakout stars of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. These individuals aren’t just reading the dictionary of what it means to be Asian American and Pacific Islander in America; they’re writing new definitions every day.

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