Worthy Brewing is pleased to announce the hiring of our new Executive Chef, Jon Sliger. More like ecstatic. Jon has everything we want. He’s a talented chef, a born leader, and a fastidious manager who knows how to have fun.
Jon has designed, built and owned restaurants. It’s in his blood. He’s a third generation chef who fondly recalls a youth spent growing, picking, drying, canning and pickling fresh fruits and veggies. He never even tasted store-bought bread until he was about 10.
For ten years Jon owned and operated the Hawk Creek Café in Neskowin, Oregon, where he honed his skills in the pizza cage. For another six years he owned Natalia’s here in Bend, where he showcased his love for Mediterranean and Southern Italian cuisine.
More recently he helped open 10 Below at the Oxford Hotel in Bend, as well as managing Johnny Carino’s and Red Robin. Both experiences taught him the art of making each guest feel special while serving a large volume of guests.
We sat down with Jon and grilled him about all things Worthy.
WBC: So Jon, tell us, why on Earth did you take the job?
Jon: Simple. Worthy’s on the up and up. You guys are growing fast, you’re building a first class campus, you’ve got stars in your eyes, you’re minding the little things and basically I’m a sucker for that old fashioned entrepreneurial spirit.
WBC: What’s your vision for the food part of our little Beertopia?
Jon: Fun, fast, beautiful food, sourced locally, always prepared flawlessly and always within a culture of clean professionalism. Boom.
WBC: Nice. So far what do you like?
Jon: I love the smell of the brewery, and the wood fired oven first thing in the morning. I like being able to grab what I want form our own garden. I like the freedom to create. But mostly I love the people here. They want to be here. They want to produce and serve the best food possible to as many hungry and thirsty guests as possible.
WBC: What plans do you have for the menu – any big changes?
Jon: We’ll keep Worthy’s signature items, like the Prefunk Burger, warm beet salad, Reuben, Fish Tacos, and Pear Prosciutto pizza. We’ll develop a few new ones, sourcing through the use of local vendors and from our own Worthy Gardens. We’ll tailor more of our dishes to the seasons.
WBC: What’s your food philosophy?
Jon: Don¹t waste anything! Let the food speak for itself. Bring out the best in every ingredient.
WBC: Any farm to table ideas? Or full-circle spent grain to rancher to cattle to plate concepts? Explain that full circle thing.
Jon: We give our spent grain and hops from the brewhouse to nearby Green Brothers Ranch, who feed it to their happy cattle and then they sell the ground beef back to us. The flavor and texture is noticeably superior. We’ve also brought into the fold Vickie¹s Vegetables and Bellatazza Coffee. And the list will grow. Stay tuned.
WBC: Your biggest challenge?
Jon: Patience. Going big and fast is fun and sexy, but there will be times when, to get it right, we’ll need to slow it down. I feel strongly that accuracy and consistency are far more important than speed.
WBC: What do you love about cooking and serving?
Jon: It goes back to my “servant nature” ingrained from my childhood, cooking with my Mom, who was a poster child for the 60’s granola culture.
WBC: Your favorite cuisine?
Jon: Southern Italian and Mediterranean.
WBC: Worthy’s expanding the restaurant and adding a banquet hall, an upper deck, an observatory and a bandstand. How do you plan to keep up?
Jon: Lots of coffee! We’ll just continue to develop our culinary team and culture of compassionate professionalism. We’ll put the right people in the right place and let them shine.
WBC: What gets you pumped up?
Jon: A shift flawlessly executed. Guest e-mails copied to an editor or website raving about their experience.
WBC: What’s a perfect day in your life?
Jon: Coffee on the deck with my wife and kids and a day spent woodcutting with my family followed by an evening next to the pond watching the Koi with a glass (or two) of sauvignon blanc.