"This is the Best Job in the World."
Recently, we sat down with Jay Vetter to see why he thinks his job as Executive Chef at Elon University is the best job he’s ever had.
Q: Have you always been into food?
A: I’d say definitely. I grew up on a small family farm in West Virginia, so food was something that brought us together. I’ve always done something that involved food—I owned an inn and a few restaurants and was really into farm to fork before it was even a thing.
Q: What’s your favorite recipe?
A: I love anything pickled. It reminds me of spring when I was a child. Fresh spinach would be delivered to our door, and my grandmother would make a 3-2-1 dressing. It’s something I still make today.
Q: Why Harvest Table?
A: Harvest Table is doing things differently. As a chef, we have more creative freedom to express ourselves–and that’s what I was missing in my previous career. Making friends with the farmers is built into my day-to-day and that allows me to get creative with seasonal ingredients. Just the other day, we purchased surplus corn. It was fresh, in season, and buying local helped eliminate the need for packaging and storing. So, we drove our corn back to campus and set up a Mexican street corn station– the students were excited to try something new.
Q: What do you like most about your team?
A: We’re like-minded. We all have the same passion for food, we have integrity around the ingredients and we’re not going to take shortcuts. It might be harder to produce something from scratch, but we know the end result makes a big difference.
We’re like-minded. We all have the same passion for food, we have integrity around the ingredients and we’re not going to take shortcuts. It might be harder to produce something from scratch, but we know the end result makes a big difference. Jay Vetter
Q: What’s your favorite part of the job?
A: My first day, I started visiting farmers markets and helped cultivate local partnerships, whether that was with restaurant chefs or partners. We have great ingredients growing in our backyard and usually, those people are just as passionate about their ingredients as we are about cooking, and we’re able to change their lives.
Understanding the value of food sourcing, culinary creativity, and good partnerships—It makes sense Chef Jay thinks his job at Harvest Table is the best in the world.