Today we’d like to introduce you to Jake Sciales.
Jake, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I was born and raised in Kirkwood and came from a very large Italian-Irish family where great food was an important part of family get-togethers. My Father, Grandfather, and Uncle even owned a local restaurant food distribution company. We grew up eating home-cooked meals and I was eager to learn and help. I started cooking at restaurants in college when I was around 20 years old and developed a passion for food. I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in culinary arts instead of finishing college. – take out this sentence
I moved back to St. Louis and started working at Mazara Bistro in Clayton where I met my wife Sara who was then a server there. The Head Chef, Todd Bale took me under his wing and taught me so much about fine dining cuisine and great presentation. My next stop on my culinary journey was at Sidney Street Café in Benton Park where I had a chance of working with Chef Kevin Nashan and his talented team. These years were really good for me ingraining discipline and technique into my cooking.
While working there, the restaurant was a semi-finalist for the James Beard award and named restaurant of the year by Sauce Magazine. After that, I was Sous Chef at Farmhaus Restaurant under Kevin Willman who was fresh off his Food and Wine Best New Chef Award. Farmhaus introduced me to a whole array of local seasonal ingredients and the farmers who grew them. Chef Willman taught me the importance of using seasonal ingredients and how to write menus around them. I still use this ideology daily with Sciales Catering. Then I worked as a Sous Chef at Annie Gunn’s but realized I preferred smaller, more intimate dining environments and ended up returning to Farmhaus as Executive Chef.
I’m proud to say that during my time as Chef at Farmhaus we received a James Beard finalist nomination and I was featured by Sauce Magazine in their annual list of the “Ones to Watch” in St. Louis.
I started Private Chef catering about 10 years ago but since I was working so many hours in restaurants we were only able to do this part-time. About 4 years ago my first son was born then my second son a year later and working nights, 50-60 hours a week in a restaurant was not ideal for family life. I started managing more fast-casual daytime restaurants in town including Balkan Treat Box in Webster. Once Covid hit we took a year off from catering but once things started to open back up the requests for private chef catering started picking up.
Our clients wanted to start getting back together with family and friends but weren’t necessarily comfortable enough to start going back to restaurants. Business picked up enough that I was able to quit working in restaurants and started working as a Private Chef full time. My wife, Sara handles all of our social media, and (remove and) administration work and serves at all of our events so we’re really a family-run small business.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
One of our major challenges is trying to create consistent high-end restaurant-level food in an ever-changing residential kitchen environment. Now, almost all of our kitchens are very well equipped and great to work in, it’s mostly the smoked detectors I have had some trouble with lol.
But I honestly enjoy the challenge and I still get butterflies in my stomach before every event and a strong sense of accomplishment after. The best part is getting to interact so closely with our clients and watching them enjoy the food and each other’s company.
As you know, we’re big fans of Sciales Catering. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about the brand?
Sciales Catering is a high-end Private Chef Catering Company that specializes in exceptional, custom, in-home dining experiences featuring local and seasonal ingredients. We work with our clients to create custom menus for their events and are happy to accommodate all food restrictions including gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options for all guests. What sets us apart is our attention to detail and our ability to cater to smaller groups.
Not only do you get a personal Private Chef at your events but my wife and other staff will serve and take care of your guests as if you were in a five-star restaurant. We will do all the shopping, bring all the food to your house to prepare, serve your guests, and clean all the dishes and the kitchen afterward. This is the perfect way to celebrate special occasions with a group or even just a special date night for 2 people. Our clients can truly enjoy the evening and relax while we take care of all the details.
Risk-taking is a topic that people have widely differing views on – we’d love to hear your thoughts.
It was a huge risk to leave the restaurant industry and venture into working for myself but it’s so rewarding to be able to spend more time with my family and young boys. I also truly enjoy getting to work so closely with all of our clients and creating wonderful personal dining experiences for them.
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