Meet Jessica Peterson: Vino Vino’s new chef!
Vino Vino has a new chef!
Here name is Jessica Peterson. She’s 30 years old and hails from Northern Wisconsin.
Before she and her fiancé, pro-hockey-player-turned-pastry-chef Steven Cak, decided to make Austin their home, she cooked in some of the coolest restaurants in Napa and New York City.
She’ll be making her debut at Vino Vino on Wednesday, August 12.
We recently sat down with her for a short interview and here’s what she had to say and share.
She’s super fun and super talented. Welcome, Jessica!
Where did you go to school? What did you study?
The Art Institutes International Minnesota, Minneapolis. Culinary Arts
When did you become interested in cooking?
My parents owned a bar/supper club when I was a kid. They didn’t really cook at home because there were always working, and my sister and I had to spend most of our time there at the restaurant. We had to wash dishes and help with prepping.
Both of my parents grew up on farms, so I spent a lot of my summers there. There were always home cooked meals, fresh from the gardens and orchards. I remember my grandmother cutting the heads off of chickens and having my sister and I go catch the running bodies. Then she would gut them and we had to pull the feathers off. None of that ever seemed gross to us. It was just part of life.
After school as a kid I would go home and watch the show “Great Chefs of the World” and “Cooking with Julia.” I preferred that over cartoons.
But I never actually thought about cooking for a living until I was in high school and had to start applying to college. I requested information from the Art Institutes because I originally thought about multimedia design.
Then I saw the pamphlet with all the culinary students in their chef whites and I thought that looked like more fun.
When did you land your first job? Where?
My first “real” job was at McDonald’s. I’ve been in restaurants ever since.
Where else have you worked besides Austin and where have you worked in Austin?
After culinary school, I decided to go to Napa Valley. I drove out there with no place to live but I had already landed a job at Auberge du Soleil.
I slept in my UHaul for two days until I found an apartment. I also worked at the Fatted Calf Charcuterie, and Redd.
I then headed to NYC and worked at Gilt (now closed). My fiancé and I decided that we would rather have a backyard, a house, and a life. We chose Austin because of its new food scene. Here in Austin I worked as a sous chef at La Condesa, and sous at Arro.
What’s your favorite style of cooking?
I love clean, fresh flavors. I’m definitely drawn to French food.
Where do you want to take the menu at Vino Vino?
I don’t plan on changing the format. I like menus that allow you to try many dishes. I don’t like to get two courses and be done. I want to taste as much of a menu as possible. I love the cheese program they have going there and I’m super excited to work with that.