Simon Wesly Jean 1

Wesly Jean Simon

Zanmi

Biography

Haitian born culinary professional Wesly Jean Simon has exemplary talent, innate appreciation for his heritage, and a fiery entrepreneurial spirit. He is the owner and creative force behind Zanmi, an authentic Haitian restaurant in the heart of Little Caribbean in Brooklyn, NY. His professional credo extends to the mission of his business and he wholeheartedly... READ MORE

Haitian born culinary professional Wesly Jean Simon has exemplary talent, innate appreciation for his heritage, and a fiery entrepreneurial spirit. He is the owner and creative force behind Zanmi, an authentic Haitian restaurant in the heart of Little Caribbean in Brooklyn, NY. His professional credo extends to the mission of his business and he wholeheartedly embraces the joy of cooking and serving food. “Respect the timing. Respect the ingredients. And there’s got to be love in it,” says Chef Wesly.

Chef Wesly came to the United States in the early ‘90s as a teen, and like many other immigrants he had to navigate a new world while also preserving a bit of culture from home. In time, as he began to take more of an interest in the culinary arts he decided to return to to better understand the food and what sets it apart. After working with butchers and rural cooks in his home country, learning their methods and magic behind blending
influences, he returned to the states equipped to share his interpretation of the dishes. From French and West African traditions and Caribbean ingredients to Creole touches, Haitan gastronomy is by default a fusion cuisine.

With encouragement from friends, the talented and eager Chef Wesly made a name for himself by working his way through top institutions in New York and New Jersey. He was fully embraced at Park & Orchard, a new American restaurant that helped him prepare for the shift to running restaurants from large brands such as TGI Friday’s and eventually made it big as the Executive Sous Chef of Hard Rock Times Square – smack dab in the middle of the busiest part of Manhattan. This opened his eyes to the possibility of opening his own restaurant and thus, Zanmi was born and he’s been serving home-cooked, traditional and modern Haitian cuisine, where every bite tastes a bit like home since opening the doors in 2020.

As an advocate for the public, Chef Wesley has worked in conjunction with Zanmi on several philanthropic initiatives. He has become involved in a number of reformation campaigns and local beautification endeavors. Likewise, by utilizing Zamni as a gathering place and platform as a hub for discourse, he has worked closely with political and academic circles. Wesly together with Zanmi also hosts charitable events such as free freedom soup (Haitian soup Joumou) every New Year’s Day for local heroes and community members. The next chapter for Chef Wesly Jean Simon includes more time in the spotlight. From guest judging opportunities, to high profile television segments, and his own line of signature spices his brand is growing rapidly. The chef is on a mission to take Haitian cooking to new heights and bring attention to the culture while showcasing the cuisine.

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