BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A personal chef and food activist in Brooklyn is branching out to a larger audience with a new line of jams and jellies.
Janelle Galvez's artisanal brand uses seasonally harvested, locally sourced fruit to create the homemade food out of a kitchen in the Lucille Rose Manor senior center in Bed-Stuy.
"Food has always been a very important thing to me," Galvez said. "I was trying to think of what makes me happy and cooking was the thing."
Galvez also works as a personal chef and hosts a web cooking show called "Cooking With Jin" through her brand Jin's Journey, and said she harvests the fruits she uses at peak time and cooks and bottles them within 36 hours of harvesting.
The East New York resident got the idea to start selling her jams after giving them as gifts to clients. After perfecting her recipes, she quit her job in July and started focusing on her new products full time in September, with an official launch at this year's Atlantic Antic.
Galvez currently offers five flavors for sale through her website, including blueberry-lavender and peach-mint jams, pepper jelly that includes jalapeño, bell and cayenne peppers, and two glazes: blackberry-tarragon and strawberry-raspberry-basil.
Not having culinary school experience, Galvez said she learned everything she knows after cooking from a very young age at her childhood home in Crown Heights.
"My mom was a single mom and I had younger brothers, so I had to cook for them," Galvez said.
Now the budding entrepreneur says her family has become her biggest supporters— even though it took a little convincing.
"They didn't take me seriously until they came to the kitchen and saw it," Galvez said. "Then they were like, 'OK, this is legit.'"