A native of the Queens borough in New York City, Jason Paskewitz’s culinary career began at his uncle’s seafood restaurant on Long Island. The chef, an alumnus of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), imbued Paskewitz with six years of training in classic Escoffier techniques — ratios, correct cut sizes for stock, the details of proper cooking technique -- and inspired Paskewitz to enroll at the CIA. “It boosted my confidence once I got to the CIA, I knew a little bit more about cooking than the other kids in class,” states Paskewitz.
Upon graduation, Paskewitz accepted a position at the elegant 5757 (Four Seasons Hotel, NYC) working under acclaimed chef Susan Weaver. Over four years, he worked with a team that included Jose Garces and Peter Betts, and completed stages at legendary restaurants including Le Bernadin, Gotham Bar & Grill, and Le Celebrite. Paskewitz then set his sights on Chicago, where he worked at Spruce, Seasons (Four Seasons Hotel), the iconic Pump Room alongside chef Martial Noguier, the Signature Room at the 95th, and Nine, elevating his skills at each stop along the way. Paskewitz still considers Noguier a mentor and friend, “I learned more about food and how to be a chef from him than in all of my studies. Besides that, he still corrects my really bad French; I've stopped correcting his English.”
The work paid off, and Paskewitz next accepted the executive chef position at Wave at the W Hotel, at the young age of 28. Finding he was doing more operations work than cooking, and yearning to get back in the kitchen, he began working at the intense and critically acclaimed Gabriel’s. After this experience, Paskewitz felt ready to make the leap, opening his namesake restaurant, JP Chicago, followed by Gemini Bistro and Rustic House. All successful, Paskewitz decided to sell his interest in each to sow his roots, realizing his dream of running his own restaurant. In 2014, those roots found fertile ground at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in the form of The Blanchard.