Chef Jamie's Story
Charleston, South Carolina USA
"The first time I used heroin was when I was in culinary school in Vermont. I was about 20 or 21 years old. We started using it recreationally for fun, but eventually it became habitual.
The thing about heroin is you get to this point where you are no longer using for a high. It gets to the point where it just evens you out. You’re still not functioning normally, but you’re at least able to sit still.
Because of the heroin, I was devoid of passion and everything you really need to be successful in this industry. Chefs are not doing it for the money. You need to have that connection to food and people. You need the drive and the passion, and that stuff just goes away when you’re at that level of addiction. Emotionally, you’re fried.
I realized I needed help, so I went to an out-patient detox program in Times Square for about 3 weeks and I got clean...
In 2012, my partners and I opened the restaurant, 5Church, in Charlotte. And then, in November 2015, we opened 5Church Charleston. While working on opening 5Church Atlanta, the BravoTV show, ‘Top Chef’, was scouting for filming spots in Charleston because they knew that was going to be the next location for their season.
A casting director contacted me about being a contestant on the show and after talking with my partners, I agreed to do it. Being on the show was an awesome experience. I am really close friends now with all the other chefs.”