BRONXVILLE, N.Y. – From growing up in Dallas to working in New York City under celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, self-trained chef Jason Holmberg has finally found a home in Bronxville.
Holmberg was welcomed in June as the new executive chef of Park 143 Bistro in Bronxville. He accepted the position over a job at celebrity chef Bobby Flay's restaurant, Bar Americain, in midtown Manhattan. In doing so he brought his 15 years of restaurant experience, passion for fresh produce and unorthodox interpretations of classic dishes to a community that loves to eat.
While working for Bobby Flay would have looked great on his resume, Holmberg said he didn't accept the position because he wanted to start something that he could call his own.
"I don't want to be a celebrity chef and I don't want to be on television," he said. "I want to make great food, live a comfortable life and make people happy. I don't need to prove myself to anyone but myself."
Holmberg classifies himself as a "super involved chef" who uses French techniques to cook modern American food with hints of Asian and Southwestern flavors.
"I like to try to take the dishes our mothers used to make and put a twist on them that just blows people away," he said. "I'm a very hands-on chef who is always in the kitchen overseeing everything. I watch and taste all the food that goes out to make sure it's just right. I'm kind of a perfectionist in that regard."
Holmberg had his first restaurant experience working at an old Irish pub in Denver under a chef with more than 30 years of experience.
"He showed me the ropes, and really propelled me into the industry," Holmberg said. "A bunch of my friends were also in the food industry, so we kind of hopped around from place to place. It was basically hands-on training where I did everything from cook to clean. I never had that real culinary school experience, but it just caught on, and I haven't wanted to do anything else since."
The passion Holmberg has for food stems from his infatuation with eating, and experiencing different cultures through their cuisine.
"I love to try new things to have new experiences," Holmberg said. "I want to do creative things when I cook to open people up to try new foods. My style revolves around small portions, but dishes that people are really satisfied with eating. This approach to food is already prevalent in places like Manhattan, but not so much yet in Bronxville. That is exactly why I'm excited about being here."
Within the next five years Holmberg hopes to open two or three restaurants.
"I wouldn't say I want to be a corporate chef, but I want to be the guy that oversees everything," Holmberg said. "I would love to own my own small restaurant where I could fuse traditional and modern styles in a fine-dining hybrid type restaurant. I have a vision of what I want to do, and I believe people will love it."