Christopher Ware and Alexander Washut have been friends since first grade. Although they have taken different paths over the years, each experience has led them to their long-time goal: owning a restaurant together.
Christopher started working in the culinary field in 1997 at a local catering company, Grand Occasions Catering. Over the next four years, working nights and weekends on a variety of menus and functions, he was able to slowly grasp the delicate preparation and creativity that drives the food industry.
After high school, Chris decided to follow the path of educators before him and went off to Skidmore College to pursue a degree in the sciences. After four long academic years, and four fun summers working in kitchens on Martha’s Vineyard, he decided to take his degree in biochemistry and head right back into the kitchen. He spent one more season on the Island with his good friend Alex, and come October he accepted a position back at the Northampton Brewery as their head chef.
Alexander started his culinary career rather quickly out of high school. At the age of 17 he began where many others have;: washing dishes at a hometown restaurant, the Northampton Brewery. It was Chris who actually first got him interested in the restaurant industry, after working the previous summer there as a cook, and so Alex began the long road up the culinary ladder from dishwasher, to cook, to sous chef.
After a couple of years he decided to take advice from Chris once again and move to Martha’s Vineyard for the summer to gain restaurant experience in a seasonal environment. As one summer turned to another, Alex decided a more formal culinary education was needed to stay on his path, so he enrolled and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. After an intense 20-month program, six months of which he spent studying at Brigtsen’s Restaurant, a New Orleans landmark, he graduated with an Associate’s degree in the Culinary Arts and an even greater passion for food.
With his new degree in his back pocket, he decided to go back to Martha’s Vineyard to apply what he learned in the classroom to the kitchen. After three years of work at an up-and-coming farm to table restaurant, State Road Restaurant, he then decided to move to New York City and see where he would land. While there he was able to take part in a fairly new endeavor, Riverpark Restaurant, where a wonderful experience of American cuisine and South American flavor were beautifully melded.
It was at Riverpark that the idea and possibilities of ”Jake’s“ first came to be, with some encouragement from home. With one quick phone call to his life long best friend, Chris, the idea was in motion and the possibilities quickly expanding. Three months of cleaning, renovating, and learning followed. The renovations were done, the staff was hired, the food was purchased, and the opening date was set when an unexpected ice storm and a two-day power outage put everything at risk. Like the Eagle Scouts they are, they persevered, staying up for two days fueling a generator and constantly checking their inventory. On November 2, 2011, by the skin of their teeth and over 100 days of hard work, two local boys brought Jake’s back to Northampton.