Chef Jeremy Thrasher
Executive Chef at the West End Wine Bar & Pub
Chef Jeremy brings a love for regional and simply good food to the Blue Ridge
“I’ve been working in restaurants in this area for a long time and have been able to build relationships with a lot of farmers around here.”
Chef Jeremy Thrasher is the future of locally sourced dining. Growing up in Northern Virginia, Jeremy went to work in the kitchen at the age of 14. His first job was at a Fairfax pub owned by a friend of his dad. “I had one shift with the cook and the next time I was in the kitchen by myself,” says Jeremy. “I did everything from cook to wash dishes.”
Jeremy moved to western Loudoun County when his family relocated their construction business. “While growing up I worked in construction,” says Jeremy. “But I always had a passion for food. After working in construction, I knew I wanted to find a different way of earning a living. It’s really ironic that I chose to be a chef. Most people don’t realize just how much hard work there is in being one.”
After graduating, Jeremy considered attending culinary school but wasn’t quite ready to make the commitment. He continued to learn his craft through on the job experience. By the time he was ready to reconsider attending school, says Jeremy, culinary colleagues told him, “Dude they’re not going to teach you anything that you don’t already know.”
Guilty pleasure snack: Nutella 100%. It has been banned from my house because I’ll just eat it with a spoon like ice cream. It’s disgusting.
Favorite meal growing up: My grandmother made the best-fried chicken and pork chops. It didn’t matter which she made. She deep-fried both of them in 100% bacon grease.
Most essential item in the kitchen: A sharp knife.
The one condiment you can’t live without is: Is grape Kool-Aid a condiment?
An Interview with Chef Jeremy Thrasher of West End Wine Bar & Pub
How did you get into the culinary arts and what and/or who inspired you to become a chef?
“My love for food definitely came from watching my grandmother cook, and helping her when I was old enough to stand on a stool and reach the counter.
I watched a lot of cooking shows when I was a kid as well, before the days of the food network. Shows like Great Chefs of The World, Great Chefs Great Cities, Julia & Jaques, and the Galloping Gourmet. In those days you could watch and actually learn something. Now it’s just a bunch of timed cooking competitions where you have to incorporate some weird ingredient.”
How would you describe your cooking style and what are some of your favorite ingredients?
“My cooking style is local, seasonal, good food. I don’t like to say I do this or that because I don’t want to limit myself. I’ve really been on a sort of comfort food kick lately.”
How do locally sourced products play into your menu and do you work with any local farms?
“The vast majority of the things we use in my kitchen are locally sourced. All our proteins are from local farmers, with the exception of seafood. We really try and stick with sustainable seafood options over locally sourced.
I’ve been working in restaurants in this area for a long time and have been able to build relationships with a lot of farmers around here. Honestly, they make my life easy. If you start with great ingredients and don’t mess with them too much, you’ll end up with something halfway decent every time.”
Are you still keeping bees? And we heard you recently did some mushroom foraging? How did that go?
“Yes! I took a few years off but I’m getting back into it and just bought a couple hives the other day. I love spending time in the woods with my dog foraging for mushrooms or other wild edibles. Just being outside is enough for me. I don’t really even care if I find anything.”