Jacob Boehm of Snap Pea Catering constantly inspires and amazes us with his drive and creativity. If you haven’t had the chance to participate in a Snap Pea Pop-Up dinner, it’s worth the investment. The artistry and flavors of his meals creates memories for a lifetime. Jacob recently stopped by the warehouse to pick up his order and we got to ask him a few questions.
How did you become a chef?
I have always loved food and cooking. In my house growing up, if you cooked, you didn’t have to clean. So, I enjoyed cooking. I became really interested in exploring food after I took a class while at Stanford University called Food & Performance. It explored the experiential side of food. I did a pop-up concept meal for my final project. It was very well received.
After college, I decided to move back to North Carolina. I’m originally from the Chapel Hill area. At first, it was hit and miss working in food. I was doing things with friends and building my network. Then I hit a turning point in 2015. My concept started to pick up momentum and has grown since then. We do pop-ups and events about once per month and also cater private events. Because summer is slower we get a chance to do projects that are experiential, like murder mystery dinners.
What is your philosophy/inspiration for your cuisine?
The philosophy and inspiration for our cuisine is, broadly speaking, context. This means: why does this food exist and why this particular food? Context comes from ingredients and farmers. What can I get that is local and in season? What can I source that is sustainably-raised? Context is also the food. For instance, if we do a wedding and the bride’s family is from another country or culture, we pull elements of that cuisine into our menu. Context also means telling the story and the history of the place where the pop-up or event is happening. Where our ingredients and story meet is where our cuisine exists.
Why do you purchase Firsthand Foods meats?
We should all be eating good meat. Why buy sustainably-raised meat? Our health, the health of the land, the health and lives of the animals, the environmental impacts—are all great reasons. Taking good meat one step further with Firsthand Foods is the fact that it is local. The economic impact and the environmental impact are important aspects of local sourcing. Keeping food dollars local means that 93% of our food costs go back to local food systems. This means buying the meat from Firsthand Foods, the produce from local farmers, the chocolate from local chocolatiers like Videri, etc…
A carrot is always a carrot, but animals have different cuts. When doing catering a unique challenge is serving a whole bunch of people the same dish. That is especially challenging when you buy small scale local meat. Firsthand Foods sits at a unique place. They are firmly planted in small sustainable agriculture but large enough to create a good market place if I need 100 lbs. of something. They will find a place for the other parts of the animal, too. I like being able to trust that when I buy it from Firsthand Foods, it is audited for animal welfare and sustainably raised.
They are also great people who are good at what they do. They provide great customer service and a good relationship. They make sure I get what I need to get it done.