Eat Real...Eat Local...Eat Fresh - that is the simple but profound food philosophy that Chef Jason Tostrup at the Weathersfield Inn lives and cooks by. It's even printed on their menus.
Chef Tostrup operates the kitchen at the inn, which is owned by Innkeepers Jane and Dave Sandelman. In the kitchen Ross Westney serves as pastry chef, and Anthony Gulielmo and Branden Watkins make up the rest of Chef Tostrup's line.
Tostrup was named Vermont Chef of the Year in 2008, has won numerous other awards, and the inn itself was named one of Bon Appetit Magazine's 2008 Hot Culinary Inns.
Tostrup traces his interest in cooking back to his childhood church growing up in Minnesota. One member of the church was cookbook author, teacher and food writer Beatrice Ojakangas, and she cultivated his early interest in the culinary arts. He would go on to cooking school in St. Paul right out of high school, and eventually get a degree in Hospitality and Tourism at the University of Wisconsin.
Big influences on his culinary career and his choices to focus on local foods simply prepared was the work of Chef Alice Waters and University of Vermont Professor Dr. Amy Trubek and her writings on the connection of food and culture, and in particular her book The Taste of Place.
After college he apprenticed with mainly French chefs in New York City, and was mentored by Chef Charles Dale in California's Napa Valley for eight years.
"I started at the bottom with him, and worked up to executive chef," Tostrup said. "In California we focused on local foods."
Married and looking to raise a family, Tostrup was looking for an opportunity to take his local food interests to a new endeavor in Vermont, where he and his wife wanted to raise their family.