Who’s Next?: Jerrett ‘Chef JK’ King shares inspiring story of triumph

The kitchen is a place of serenity for some, anxiety for others, but for Jerrett King or Chef JK it’s his art studio with a canvas on every plate.
Published: May. 10, 2023 at 5:00 AM EDT|Updated: May. 10, 2023 at 2:19 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The kitchen is a place of serenity for some and anxiety for others.

But for Jerrett King, or “Chef JK,” it’s his art studio; with a canvas on every plate.

The Myrtle Beach native’s role as executive chef wasn’t always the goal as life found him getting chopped at every turn.

“I tried to perfect my craft and I practiced,” King said.

While setting records on the Carolina Forest High School basketball scene, King had a baby at 15 years old and watched his NBA dreams deflate.

“Not pursuing my basketball career to cook, it was tough at one point because I was ashamed,” he said. “I used to be on the news and in the newspaper all this time.”

Instead of crying foul, King found his rebound in a local restaurant, studied the playbook, and is now an award-winning self-taught chef with a three-peat restaurant lineup featuring Cypress Grille, which is now O.A.K Prime Kitchen and Bar, along with fire and smoke.


Just like his new restaurant, he’s the prime example of turning obstacles into delicious octopus plates.

“I didn’t look at anything besides playing basketball,” King said. “{But} I became Gordon Ramsey.”

To hear more of Chef JK’s remarkable story, how he’s giving back to our community, and his outlook on life listen to “Who’s Next? with Derrion Henderson” wherever you get your podcasts.