Born in Hopewell Township, New Jersey, chef Jason Holowacz began his career in the restaurant business by working the front of the house in a Chinese restaurant. One night, the fry cook injured himself, and the chef started looking at the waitstaff for a replacement. “'Want to learn how to do this?'” Holowacz recalls being asked, and with that, he had his first job as a cook at 16 years old. As the only US-born cook in the kitchen, Holowacz says he learned a lot about Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese cuisine there.
Holowacz eventually moved to Columbia and began working as a prep cook at Motor Supply Company Bistro in 1990. Over the next 12 years, he gradually worked his way up the line to become the executive chef. In 2002 Holowacz moved to Tombo Grille, serving as a chef there for five years. Then in 2007 he took the helm at Gervais & Vine, where he worked until 2008. Holowacz was then asked to help open the kitchen at Rosso in Forest Acres. After helping launch Rosso, Holowacz returned to home to the Vista neighborhood, where he has served as executive chef at Gervais & Vine since 2009.
“Keep it fresh and local!”
Blue Cheese Shortbread With Roasted Grapes
½ cup butter (room temperature)
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup finely chopped pecans
1 bunch seedless grapes
1.Beat butter and cheese until blended then add flour and nuts. Shape into a log and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill until firm. (Can be frozen and stored in this stage for up to 6 months.
2.Pull grapes from stems and bake on a parchment paper lined pan at 450 degrees F for 15-20 min. Do not crowd pan. Remove to a separate dish to cool, including liquid from the roasting pan.
3.Slice shortbread log into 1/4” thick discs, and bake on an ungreased baking sheet at 350 degrees F for 10 min.
4.Plate with a drizzle of balsamic reduction and granulated mint (optional).