Jason began his career in food service working in private country clubs, advancing through operations and management roles with his creativity and attention to detail. In the early 2000s, Jason worked with Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association’s Hall of Famer Andy Reiss to open a new fine dining concept in downtown Tallahassee. Having had the opportunity to further develop his skills in both cooking and restaurant management, Jason moved on to become the general manager of a downtown ultra-lounge with a high-end lunch menu, where he also developed a catering line for the company that would later become the business’s strongest line of revenue.
In 2006, Jason was invited to join the culinary team at Florida State University as the events manager and chef for the President’s House, which was yet to be completed. Working alongside project manager First Lady Ginger Wetherell, they designed an elegant and efficient living and events space. Jason was responsible for planning and executing an array of events for years, which were anything from intimate afternoon tea for university volunteers and ambassadors to large events for legislators, government officials, and national and international dignitaries and scholars. Jason also served the President and First Lady as their private chef on their 1,000-acre plantation, catering to representatives of corporations, other key constituents and friends as well as orchestrating their daughter’s wedding. Jason graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and economics while serving as the presidential chef for the university, where he also met his wife.
In 2008, after a six-month vetting process, Jason was appointed the role of catering director for the 2008 Beijing Olympics in China — responsible for overseeing the caterings for the Olympic Green, Sponsor Village, the International Broadcast Center and each country’s medal ceremonies, as well as the opening of the International Broadcast Center’s fine dining restaurant. Having worked with local officials to inspect and permit venues that were farmland just twelve months prior, the mayor of Beijing, the night before he was to return to the states, invited him to his home for dinner to thank him for his efforts.
The years following found Jason in South Florida and North Carolina under contract for Florida International University and BB&T, once again cooking and assuming overall P&L responsibility. In the ten years with his previous employer, he fondly looks back at the opportunities he had to serve as the personal chef to three university presidents, living in China and working at the greatest Olympics in recent history, cooking for two sitting presidents of the United States of America, hosting the president of Rwanda, traveling the country providing support to other concepts and events for the company, and mentoring chefs along with young hospitality talent, all while enjoying a quality of life that would allow him the opportunity to start a family. Before Jason left his last role, he was awarded the company's Jan Morrison Creativity Award, Most Valuable Player Award, and Director of the Year.
In 2016, Jason and his wife welcomed their first son and headed back to the sunshine state to plant roots in Northwest Florida shortly after.
Jason says that working with local talent and Chef Jim has been a rich experience — from being invited to travel with Chef Jim to the James Beard House in New York to the community-focused foundation of Jim’s diverse and growing businesses — Jason holds much admiration for the reputation Chef Jim has for his food and his compassionate way of doing business.
Nominated for the role by Jim Shirley, Jason sits on the Board of Directors of Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association’s Northwest Chapter and was presented Best Restaurant Manager of the Year at FRLA’s 2019 Hospitality Stars of the Industry Celebration.
You can find Jason, when he’s not at the restaurant, relaxing at home with his family — and cooking.