In the midst of his second complete season, Chef Jim Gop is no stranger to putting his talent and passion in front of the fire to wow his guests. Focusing on the dining experience from start to finish, Jim and his team have a night of wonderful surprises in store for our guests.
Providing our #F2V guests with an experience unlike any other, Jim has prepared a menu fit for a king (or queen) at none other than world-renowned celebrity event designer turned American flower farmer, David Beahm’s farm, Thistle Dew Farm.
Recently, we had the chance to catch up with our featured chef to talk about everything from what inspires him as a chef and business owner, to his story of chasing dreams in California and the aesthetic he has established within his company, Heirloom Fire.
F2V: We are so excited to have you join us at David Beahm’s Thistle Dew Farm in Quakertown, PA as our featured Chef! What will we see during this upcoming dinner?
Jim: I am super excited to come along for the ride! It is important to pay attention to the aesthetic of the event, which happens to be much bigger than just the food. It’s the entire experience that we will be focusing on. To be able to work with the Field to Vase Dinner Tour and David Beahm to create this exclusive experience is beyond thrilling.
The menu we designed for the night will elaborate on that Pennsylvania feel. We will be roasting and cooking pigs in various ways, as well as serving handcrafted charcuterie, hearth baked breads, grilled summer vegetables, cast iron roasted lattice peach pies, fireside s’mores and more.
F2V: What is your story? How did you get started in the industry?
Jim: I have always been into art and loved expressing my vision through art. In my early years, I started drawing and eventually got really into special makeup effects, even working on sculpting prosthetics for faces. The attention to detail has always been my thing. Wanting to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, I went to California at the age of 17. Not breaking into the career I aimed for, I traveled back to the East Coast. I began to work for a grocer (similar to Whole Foods) in which I learned a lot about seasonality. It was that moment I began to fall in love with food. I attended the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and had the opportunity to learn hands-on through internships at high-end, white tablecloth restaurants. Eventually, I got burnt out from putting in long hours and often felt disconnected from who I was preparing a meal for within the restaurant scene.
Shortly after, I began working for my friend who did simple pig roasts and grilled vegetables. I couldn’t help but think how amazing this experience was to be outside and actually interact with the guests. I wanted to marry this artistic and higher-end background I had with the feeling of being outdoors. Sooner or later, Heirloom Fire was born. Believe it or not, this is our second full season as a business. It has been great!
F2V: If you can describe your work in one word, what would it be and why?
Jim: Captivating. We rely so much through display and exposure. When we set up for our events, we try to tuck ourselves away from the actual ceremony. Guests may visualize smoke in the air or see some fire flumes in the sky, but they eventually must turn a corner. For example, when you go to a baseball game, you purchase your tickets from the outside, come into the field, and it’s just an explosion of green. That’s the experience I want to provide my guests when they come around the corner from seeing the amazing smoke coming up from the flames, and the sounds of everything cooking.
F2V: As a chef, what inspires you?
Jim: I am always inspired by the local flavor of the locations we travel to. For this dinner, I want to highlight Pennsylvania with fresh summer ingredients grown locally on the East Coast. For me, summer is decided by peaches and melons that are so juicy, you want to stand over a bathtub while eating them!
Seasonality plays a huge factor in inspiration, which has captivated my love and appreciation for food but also the process of how a summer peach tastes different than a peach that would be shipped in from Chile or Argentina in January.
F2V: What makes you different compared to all the other Chefs we have featured in the past?
Jim: When it comes to our food, it is important to realize its more than just the taste, but also the presentation. We believe the overall experience is the most important factor. We are a fully exposed open-kitchen, conscious of reducing waste and focusing on the roots of cooking.
When we do events, we do not use any electricity. Everything is hand-driven. For refrigeration, we use our ice chests, which require large ice blocks. We have no plastic (anything) used in our kitchen. We use vintage copper and brass utensils, as well as kitchenware. From what I know, no one is doing it like us. People often stand near our set up and I want them to come closer – to give them a tour of our kitchen and explain our process for their meal. Our guests get to see the whole story being told by food. I want to capture your attention.
It is no secret that your FULL attention will be captivated ALL NIGHT through your eyes, nose, ears, and taste buds with Chef Jim in the house! Join the Field to Vase Dinner Tour for a dinner to remember in Quakertown, PA on Wednesday, September 14!
Save you seats today!