Jess Rice is a dedicated advocate of the plant-based lifestyle and has created gourmet, organic cuisine across the United States. In her former career, Rice worked in public relations and marketing. She was drawn to experiment with plant-based foods in response to the toll late nights spent networking and long days sitting at a desk eventually took on her health. She experienced life-changing results once she eliminated animal-based foods, GMOs and gluten from her own diet. Gradually, she began helping others do the same and decided to pursue formal training as a chef and holistic health coach.
Leaving her sedentary office job in 2013, Rice focused on her business full-time, supplying local eateries (The Wild Cow, Juice Bar, 8th & Roast) with healthy raw foods and began teaching plant-based nutrition classes independently and with Metro Nashville’s Community Education Commission. Between 2013 and 2014, Rice completed culinary training at celebrated chef Matthew Kenney’s Culinary Academy in Santa Monica, California and obtained detox coaching certifications and holistic chef certifications with Naturopath Dr. Amy Rachelle in Indonesia.
In 2015, Rice opened AVO and made waves in the vibrant dining scene in Nashville; AVO is the first plant-based restaurant to win “Best New Restaurant” in the annual and highly-anticipated Nashville Scene’s Reader’s Poll. Rice’s taking a completely health-focused and locally-sourced approach to preparing plant-based cuisine has driven her success. Jess was elected one of Nashville’s “25 Most Beautiful People” in Nashville Lifestyles Magazine and was named one of the country’s “Hottest Plant- Based Chefs” in Thrive Magazine before she appeared as the keynote speaker at the inaugural Nashville VegFest. Rice sold AVO in February of 2016. The restaurant is still open under new ownership on Charlotte Ave in West Nashville. The menu still features some of Rice’s best-selling creations including her kimchi spring rolls, AVOcado margarita, and raw cheesecakes.
After selling AVO, Rice hit the road with legendary recording artist, Neil Young, working as his personal chef. Tying together her past in the entertainment world and her passion for food, Jess has cooked for a number of artists including Depeche Mode, Kelly Clarkson, Miley Cyrus, Wayne Coyne and Kellie Pickler. Jess appeared on Trisha Yearwood’s Food Network show, “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen” earlier this year, helping Trisha and her sister Beth sharpen up their knife skills in the kitchen. Jess Rice has plans to continue teaching cooking classes when she is in Nashville and working as a private chef on the road while simultaneously working on her next restaurant, a concept she plans to announce in early 2019.