A California man who’s spending the rest of his life behind bars has become an unlikely star after starting a TikTok cooking show from his prison cell. Jeron Combs, from Paramount, is serving 70 years plus life for a first-degree murder charge he was convicted of at 18. Now 31, he’s taken to creating unique cooking tutorials which he uploads to the social media site under the handle @blockboyjmoney. He’s since garnered more than 1.3 million followers.
- Cooking in prison isn’t easy. As he explained to the Daily Mail, trying to “cook” anything besides ramen noodles in jail is pretty complicated. “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,” he explained of his makeshift kitchen setup. After plugging the hot plate beneath his metal bed, he uses the bed frame like a grill.
- There are other limitations to Jeron’s cooking. Because he’s behind bars, Jeron doesn’t have access to a fridge/freezer and can therefore only use pre-packaged foods available in the jail’s commissary or that’s sent to him by family and friends on the outside. However, that hasn’t stopped him from making some great dishes including burritos, tacos, and even burgers.
- The prison canteen lives a bit to be desired. That’s what inspired Jeron to start making his own food (and launch his own show). “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,” he said.
- He only learned to cook while behind bars. It’s not a skill he had before going to prison, but since he’s picked up his culinary skills, he’s even started feeding his fellow inmates. “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,” Jeron 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.”
- He hopes his TikTok success educates people on the outside. “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,” Jeron said. “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.”