Current Position: Executive Chef
Company Affiliation: InterContinental Hotel, Kansas City
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Restaurantware Interviewer: Explain your food philosophy in 10 or fewer words.
Chef Wiggin: Great ingredients make great chefs. Treat them with great respect.
Restaurantware Interveiwer: What is your most unique attribute as a food professional?
Chef Wiggin: My ability to look at things differently and think outside-the-box. I want to push the envelope with every dish I create, while staying true to the ingredients.
Restaurantware Interviewer: Explain the most innovative event you’ve ever thrown or dish you’ve created.
Chef Wiggin: I created a whole event around classic pairings. One of my favorite dishes was a “Butter and Popcorn” dish. We created a butter-poached Maine lobster tail with a silky smooth buttered popcorn puree, a frothed burre Monte, and garnished the dish with popped corn and a Chenin Blanc gelee.
Restaurantware Interviewer: What is the most underrated kitchen product or food item?
Chef Wiggin: Eggs. They’re definitely the silent heroes in the kitchen. You can’t live without them. They can go un-noticed as an ingredient in bigger items but they can stand up to many center-of-the-plate applications.
Restaurantware Interviewer: How do eco-friendly considerations enter your decision making process as a chef or caterer? (i.e. sourcing local food, using ecofriendly products, etc.)
Chef Wiggin: It is always frustrating when I see a new concept being marketed as “local, sustainable and eco-friendly“. It’s 2014, that’s a given. As chefs we are stewards of the products we use. We have a responsibility to make sure we’re working with suppliers who are just as passionate about what they do, as we are about our craft. Working with local farmers we have an active stake in the viability of their products always garners great rewards. There’s no greater joy than watching someone take a bite into a tomato grown the way a tomato should be, seeing their face light up and ask, “What this taste so great?” It’s simple: someone cared about that tomato from the time the see was planted, to the time it was plated.
Restaurantware Interviewer: Restaurantware is about providing a stylish presentation for food, explain your approach to plating and tablescapes.
Chef Wiggin: My food plating is linear and simple. I breathe life into the dish with simple elegances. I want the plate to look organic and have life, which draws the eye into it.
Restaurantware Interviewer: List one tip that you would give to a DIY entertainer or a home chef who might need some professional inspiration to take a gathering to the next level.
Chef Wiggin: Breathe! Creating food is supposed to be fun – so have fun with it. Don’t over think your approach. And, beware of Pinterest.
Restaurantware Interviewer: What is the BEST thing you’ve eaten recently?
Chef Wiggin: There’s a little hole-in-the-wall Taqueria in Kansas City that has some menudo and tamales I’ve tasted since living in Los Angeles.