Thanks to some impressive DIY and cooking skills, this inmate prepares food from scratch in his cell. He did not expect, though, to become a TikTok star.
A TikTok star is born
Jeron Combs, a 31-year old from Paramount, California, has been in prison since he was 18. He is serving 70 years plus life for murder and attempted murder.
He recently caught the attention of the media through his TikTok cooking show. On his account, he shows the meals he prepares with a makeshift grill from his cell.
Using only preserved packs and cans of ingredients, he prepares complicated meals and shares the process. Before he knew it, his TikTok account @blockboyjmomey reached 1.3 million likes.
When DIY skills meet cooking talent
Jeron created a DIY cooking grill with a hot plate from a broken oven placed under his metal bed. Additionally, he uses pre-packaged ingredients for his dishes.
While burritos are his favorite meal, he also prepared layer cakes with icing and sprinkling. No surprise, his fans say that "he could be a chef."
The idea came to Jeron as he was so unsatisfied with food from the prison canteen. He was sure he could do better by cooking his own lunch. He said:
"I decided to cook because it's better than what they feed us. We get food packages from the canteen, so we can order packaged food in. I broke a hot pot down and took the plate out of it and sanded my bunk down to the metal to cook from it. I cook Burritos, tacos, quesadillas, rice bowls, stir fry, burgers, tostadas, and bacon, but burritos are my favorite because I been cooking them for so long."
Making do and sharing with friends
Jeron shares the results of his cooking experiments with his friends as well. He explained:
"I make food for my cellmate and some friends at times for special occasions. I have a passion for cooking. I have been in jail since 18 and this is where I learned all my cooking from."
Faced with the limitations of the environment, he learned to adapt. Here are his secrets:
"I make the best of all the ingredients that I have, and if I don't have what I need I just get it from a friend, and we compile all our food together and make it work."
Showing what life in prison is really like
For sure, he did not expect the success he got on TikTok. He commented:
"At first I decided to post the video on TikTok for fun, but I never thought the whole world would see it."
Now that he got people's attention, he hopes to show what life in prison is really like. Indeed, it is not quite like what we see on TV. He also revealed:
"I don't want people to look down on us because of the mistakes we made and see that jail is a different place for some people. Some people think that it's all about violence and what they hear or see on TV, but it's so much more to what people don't see. I want to be able to enlighten them on what's going on behind these walls."
His fans keep wanting more
It is no surprise that his video attracted so many views. In fact, his creativity deserves all the praise. One fan wrote:
"You could be a chef. Your ability to adapt is inspiring."
Another, truly impressed, added:
"That grilling spot is clean too! Y'all take care of your stuff. Respect."
Moreover, someone finds true joy in watching his content, commenting:
"Can't wait to see what you guys cook next! Honestly this helps me when I'm feeling down."
Thanks to Jeron, we learned that life in jail is not all like Orange Is the New Black or Prison Break. In the process, we also picked up some excellent cooking tricks.