As a child, Jake Snyder often found himself in the kitchen. He found joy in turning leftovers into his own culinary masterpieces for family and friends.
“An incredible amount of my memories are tied to tastes and smells,” said Snyder, now the executive chef for Social Tap Eatery. “There are countless (of memories) from my grandmother’s kitchen and interestingly enough the strongest ones are from breakfast time.”
But a career in the culinary industry didn’t capture his attention until later on in life. Snyder, 26, said he decided to explore other options after working long hours in the construction industry with his father.
“I knew that I enjoyed cooking but not that I would like to pursue it as a career, so I started doing some research,” Synder said. “I found out that there was a culinary school in Santa Barbara only thirty minutes away from home.”
After graduating from the Santa Barbara City College School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management, Synder worked his way up the industry, working at a BBQ restaurant in Oxnard, Calif. He was named executive chef in 2015 for both Social Tap Eatery locations in downtown San Diego and at SDSU.
Today, Synder finds himself turning classic American cuisines into his own speciality dishes. Some of the customer favorites include filet mignon truffle tacos, brussels and bacon, and the buffalo and blue burger.
“I would describe my style of cooking as adaptive,” Snyder said. “I enjoy trying recipes and ideas but always end up adapting it to my own style as I go. I don’t like to be confined to one end result so if in the process of making something I decide that I need to take it in a different direction, I will do so. Using my culinary degree to my advantage, I take classic techniques and apply it to modern food trends.”
Synder said his style helps Social Tap Eatery differentiate from the growing number of modern American restaurants in San Diego County.
“The food is approachable so that anyone can find something they like, the staff is incredible and will make you feel like family, and the atmosphere of the restaurant is slightly upscale but still inviting,” Synder said.
So what kind of advice does the budding chef have for other hopeful culinary artists?
“Keep experiencing new things,” Synder said. “The only true way to learn is experience. Schooling can teach you techniques and give you a great base to build your career, but always try new foods and drinks to expand your memory food bank AKA palate.”
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