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An Interview With Jess Barbosa
Not available online
TitleAn Interview With Jess Barbosa
AbstractInterviewer: Irene Ruiz. Interview recorded January 20, 1979. 1 sound cassette (ca. 90 minutes): analog, stereo.; 5 7/8 x 2 1/2 in., 1/8 in. tape; 1 sound disc; digital; 4 3/4 in. Includes a typed contents list.
NotesMr. Barbosa was born March 26, 1933 in Jackson County, Missouri and at the time of the interview with an executive chef at the Alameda Plaza Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. In the interview he recalls the West Side, 1951 flood, time in the military, working at the Muehlebach Hotel in the kitchen, etc.

Number 2 on MP3 disc.
Date1979-01-20
LocationSC69-1, Tape 2, CD 2
Local SubjectHispanic Americans
Oral History
Barbosa, Jess
Item TypeArchival Material
TranscriptionSynopsis of the Interview:

Mr. Barbosa is an executive chef at the Alameda Plaza Hotel. He was born March 26, 1933, in Jackson County, Missouri. His parents are Mr. and Mrs. Guadalupe Barbosa. He was one of six boys and two girls. He lived at 2001 Jefferson for most of his childhood. His parents still reside there. His father was a laborer for Kansas City Public Transportation for 42 years.

He recalls the West Side as a busy, well-kept neighborhood. Most of the neighbors worked in hotels, packing houses, or on the railroad. Most businesses were on 24th Street. Mexican movies were shown at a theater around 40th and Main and in church basements. He attended Guadalupe School which was then Redemptorist High School. He quit school after 11th grade and joined the Navy. He worked after school and on weekends in "Dandy's" grocery. He learned meat cutting there.

Flood of 1951: Many friends in the Armourdale area moved away after the flood rather than face cleaning up and returning to their homes. His three oldest brothers served in WWII and the three youngest in Korea. He recalls rationing and his father's vegetable garden. Barbosa and three friends signed up for the Navy together. They were stationed in San Diego and spent four years on sea duty, cruising the coast of Korea. He requested duty in the kitchen and learned basic cooking skills. The ship had a crew of 1,300, and he decided on a food service career.

He returned to Kansas City in 1956. After several weeks, he got a job as a vegetable cook at the Muehlebach Hotel. He worked his way up, learning all areas of the kitchen. He stayed after work to learn more and took second jobs at area country clubs. He married a Kansas City, Kansas, woman. Disputes with new management caused him to leave the Muehlebach after 16-and-a-half years. He was a chef for one year at the Hilton, and then went to the Alameda Plaza Hotel. He has been there ever since as an executive chef. He is a member of the American Culinary Federation, the greater Kansas City Chef's Association, and a coordinator of a government-funded chefs apprenticieship program in Johnson County. He was vote Chef of the Year in 1976. Mr. Barbosa has developed ice carving and other artistic touches. He has won two awards from the International Food and Wine Society for gourmet dining. He wants to encourage more young people to go into culinary fields. He publicized an apprenticeship program but got no response from the West Side.

His oldest daughter is majoring in business and loves dancing. His second daughter is working with her father in the kitchen of the Alameda. His son is five years old. The Barbosas now live north of Kansas City. He has a large staff under him at the Alameda.
Access This ItemYou may come to the Missouri Valley Room to listen to the interview.
Item ID210305
CONTENTdm number36336
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