A Louisiana man is sharing his love of Cajun food online as a unique character. Jason Derouen transforms into the Cajun Ninja when he steps into a kitchen. It’s a persona that combines his love of food, martial arts, humor and entertainment. Derouen began to share his cooking videos online for fun. However, it’s cooked up more than he ever imagined.
Watching Derouen cook, it’s clear to see he’s not your typical chef. He sports a Ragin Cajun hat, black belt and signature martial arts moves while cooking.
His most unique move, which he does in all of his videos, is chopping vegetables with his hand. He exclaims "Piyah!" during the move, as the vegetables are "magically" chopped away.
"I knew in the video I said ‘Piyah’! I was having fun with it," Derouen said. "I was like ‘I’m going to run with this because I enjoy cooking and martial arts is a huge passion of mine. I said ‘I’m going to be the ‘Cajun Ninja.’ I just started doing dish after dish that I knew. It just took off from there."
His page was originally entitled "Whatcha’ Doin Derouen". He pronounces his last name, differently than others in Acadiana. He jokingly said, "I’ve grown up in Houma. Nobody ever got it right."
For a few years he resided in Lafayette with his family. Lafayette is a place that he says has inspired some of his cooking. He later on moved closer to his home town. However, he still loves to cheer on the Ragin Cajuns and dons a Cajun baseball hat.
One of his first videos to go viral was a gumbo recipe he shared online. He shared the video in 2016, in response to the infamous Disney gumbo video. The Disney recipe included ingredients like kale and quinoa. Derouen shared his own take of the recipe and told Disney to "take notes."
Since then, he’s shared plenty of family recipes online. Some videos have gained millions of views and his following continues to grow. However, the story behind the Cajun Ninja actually begins on hard times. Derouen was laid off from his former job.
"The oil field has it’s downturns and it happened to me twice throughout my career in the oil field."
That’s when Derouen decided to share his love of food online. "What I love about food and cooking is that it brings people together," Derouen said. "I’ve had things go in my life where it didn’t feel like it was going in the direction I wanted, but it ended up going in the direction I needed."
It’s a direction that’s cooked up thousands of fans, happiness and good food to his family.
Derouen is a father to three young girls. You can spot them in his kitchen while he cooks, mimicking his signature ‘Piyahh!’ catchphrase.
His wife Misty said, "Of course we never go hungry!"
She described how amazed she is to see the Derouen’s following online.
"We just thought it was crazy just how it all started," Misty said. "I was super excited and proud because he loves to entertain people. He is such a good person. He has always supported me and my passions. To see him do what he loves makes me so happy. I’m a hairdresser and I always wanted my own salon and he put everything he had when we first got married to help me build that dream. I just want to do the same for him."
Derouen’s journey shows that if you can’t stand the heat, stay in the kitchen a little longer. you might just create the perfect recipe for living an inspired life.
"For every negative, there is a positive," Derouen said. "If you just see it through ,the positive will come and you will look back on it like ‘I’m so glad that happened’."
He added, "You can probably solve a lot of worlds problems, if you cook a pot of gumbo and eat."