Autism Interview #198: Jeremiah Josey on Transitions, Cooking, and Advocacy

Jeremiah Josey is a twenty-three-year-old pastry chef from Maryland and published author of Here’s What I Want You To Know. He is a public disability advocate and has cooked alongside a wide range of successful, talented chefs, such as Chef Kwame Onwuachi, Chef Chris Scott both who have appeared on Bravo TV Top Chef, Franklyn Becker, Bravo Master’s and Paul Denamiel, Owner and Executive Chef of Le Rivage. This week Josey shared the racial justice motivation for writing his new book as well as some of his experiences with life transitions and cooking.

As an Autistic student, how has your learning experience in school been? What, if anything, can make it better or easier?

I would say that my learning experience in school has been pretty good. Despite autism, I’ve still learned a lot of things in school and have gotten a lot of help from people with whatever I get stuck on, and I don’t really have an idea what would make it better or easier, just the fact that I should just keep learning all I can and not give up.

What do you find challenging about transitioning into young adulthood and what would make things better?

I think what I find challenging about transitioning into a young adult is the fact that I have to start facing many difficulties and colossal responsibilities in my life coming from the fact that life can be hard and some of the world is very cruel. I think what would make it better is if I just got some extra encouragement and support from people who love me. I don’t want to give up on myself as they haven’t given up on me.

What sorts of actions do you think people can take to improve life for Autistic teens and young adults?

I would say some actions could be to have more autism awareness events to support autism or do some public speaking to motivate other individuals with autism.

Tell me about your newest book Here’s What I Want You to Know 2. Who is the audience and why did you write it?

My mom and I decided to write a new book together called “Here’s What I Want You to Know 2”. The audience we’re trying to direct it to is individuals with autism. The reason we wrote the book originates from all the racism, prejudice, and the loss of so many innocent black individuals in this world due to all the horrible injustice and brutality of police officers. I think why we wrote the book also originates from my hesitation to ever be around an officer in fear of him not understanding my autism and thinking I’m not obeying his commands. The book is encouraging other individuals–just like you don’t let autism hold you back, never let racism or prejudice hold you back as well. You can still accomplish anything you set your mind to.

How did you develop a passion for cooking? What are some of your favorite dishes to make?

My passion for cooking all started with my grandma. I would go over to her house to make all types of scrumptious goodies. But from the very beginning, me and my grandma first made this savory recipe called the egg in the basket where you toast the bread on a frying pan with a hole in the center where the sunny side up egg is going. My favorite dishes or desserts to make were pumpkin pie, cheesecake, cookies, and blueberry pie.

What are some things people do to try and be inclusive, but they aren’t actually that helpful?

One example of people trying to be inclusive but end up not really being that helpful is when they may say or do things to include themselves in conversation or think they know what you feel, but they really don’t know how you feel.

What are you most passionate about? 

I think what I’m most passionate about is cooking/baking, being a future actor, and overall just following my dreams I’m trying to pursue and accomplish in life.

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  1. Reply

    On “I know how you feel”:

    Aaron Likens who wrote FINDING KANSAS had a recent post on how this phrase affect him when he was working with doctors and psychiatrists.

    The thing is – we all think and feel so differently and we all have different experiences.

  2. Reply

    I want to become a pastre chef like him, because my cooking talent is popular with my friends.

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