10 Questions w/ Dressing Room's Chef Jon Vaast

Stephanie Webster

Jon Vaast is the talented chef at Dressing Room in Westport. He may be young but he has been in the kitchen for most of his adult life. Here are a few things you likely didn't know about this Fairfield County chef. 

If you had unexpected guests arriving at your home for dinner in 1 hour, what would you whip up? I would run to the store and grab some strip steaks, some vegetables in season, got to make some mashed potatoes either roasted garlic or caraway, along with a few bombers of craft beer.

What is the last dish you cooked for yourself? Made some duck ragout with spinach linguine after lunch service today. 

What are your guilty pleasures in terms of food? I’m a sucker for a burger and fries.

What ingredient could you not live without? Farm fresh eggs

The chef I’d most like to spend the day with is...Masaharu Morimoto. I've always been fascinated with Japanese food, especially sushi. It's amazing how something so delicious can be achieved with ingredients as simple as seaweed, rice, and fresh fish. I feel like it would be an incredible experience to spend a day in one of his kitchens. 

What was your worst kitchen nightmare? We were getting ready for a wine dinner last year when there was a small fire outside of the building after putting it out, the smoke back-drafting into the kitchen causing  the alarms to go off, the fire department came and made sure everything was ok.  After that fiasco the entire kitchen had to be cleaned before we could continue with a few hours until service began.  

What is your most useful kitchen tool or appliance? Our Vita Prep is diffidently  the most useful tool we have. It's a high speed blender that's used for soups, sauces, purees, dressing, etc. we use it every day. 

What dish on your menu most defines you and your cooking style? Every time we get a whole pig in I can’t wait to do our seared pork belly with a slow poached egg, garlic toast and something that’s in season. 

What defines an outstanding meal for you? Simple dishes with big flavors

Who do you like to cook for the most?  I honestly love to cook for my wife because it's something I rarely get the chance to do.  Between our schedules, myself at the restaurant and my wife working at a hospital, we don't get many nights off together. When it does happen, I always try to cook at home. 

Extracurricular activity you enjoy when not cooking? When I'm not cooking, I like to spend my free time brewing beer. I've been doing it for a few years now.  Nothing is better than coming home after work and pouring a pint of your own beer. It's such a satisfying feeling.

People would be surprised to know that you... That I never went to culinary school.