Best of Kansas City 2021: Chef Jay is KC’s very own food prodigy

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Chef Jay at work. // Courtesy Jayaun Smith

Chef Jayaun Smith is Kansas City’s food prodigy. At just 22, Smith became the first executive chef at Ruby Jean’s Juicery in 2017. In 2018, he was named Best Chef in our 2018 Best of KC.

If you didn’t get the chance to try his food at Ruby Jean’s or as a personal chef to the stars, maybe you tried his fry-based pop-up, Fry, in pre-pandemic 2020. Perhaps you know him from his lunch counter, Sauced, in the Crossroads. Or Just Slide, a slider joint in NKC’s Iron District. Maybe you know Chef Jay’s work from The What Truck, a food truck with a rotating variety of menus. 

The point is, at just 25 years old, Chef Jay is building a food empire in Kansas City. And he isn’t stopping anytime soon. This year, it was revealed that Smith was on season 20 of Hell’s Kitchen: Young Guns, which featured up and coming young chefs and was recorded pre-pandemic.

If you haven’t yet tried Smith’s food or had the opportunity to meet him, you need to do so soon. Your taste buds will thank you.

Categories: Food & Drink