We’re excited to introduce a new series we’ll be featuring on our blog. “Meet Terra” will let you get to know your favorite servers and bartender a little better, not to mention the kitchen staff–many of whom our diners haven’t had the chance to meet.
So, up first: Joby Wetzle, sous chef at Terra and master of the Butcher’s Plate.
Why did you begin cooking? I originally got into this business to be a server because I heard servers made awesome money. So I thought, I can do that. I’ll make some money. I was a server for about six months, and the guy that was the kitchen manager where I worked knew that I didn’t like it, and he told me I could come in and do some prep work in the afternoon and see what I thought. And I just fell in love with being in the kitchen and that environment, that atmosphere, and 10 years later, here I am.
What’s your favorite ingredient? Pork. I’m obsessed with sausage right now. That’s all I’ve done for the past year. It’s all I want to do. It’s all I think about. We’re always talking about something different to do with a pig.
Favorite meal that you’ve had? Right before we cooked at the James Beard House, the Sunday when we got up there we went to Balthazar for lunch. Not only was the food awesome, but that was my first experience at that type of restaurant and just being in the city. Everything was thought of with attention to all the details. It was just such an eye-opening experience to see a place like that, which had been in operation so long and still held those high standards.
Favorite dish on the menu at Terra? Any time we have Fudge Farm pork chops, anything we do with that is going to be amazing. Definitely really proud of how the butcher plate has turned out over the last couple months. That’s somewhere where I get to be myself and do things that I think are interesting and fun.
Kitchen tool you couldn’t do without? MAC knives. I’ve got the chefs knife and a utility knife. While I love my chef’s knife because it’s super sharp and well-balanced, my six-inch utility knife is what I use probably 75 percent of the day. It’s the perfect size and super sharp. Great for anything, fileting fish, vegetables, anything.
Drink of choice? Bourbon. Classic choice for all chefs.
Do you cook at home? Every night when I get home from here. Sometimes it’s something fancy if I’ve started something in the morning before I went to work. I’ll braise something early and finish it when I get home or it’s often cold meat and a salad, something simple.
If you’re in charge of the music in the kitchen, what’s on? [Laughs] Whenever chef’s (Chef Mike Davis) not here, we get to pick and he’s pretty open about listening to anything. One song? Led Zeppelin, “When the Levee Breaks.” You can never go wrong there.
Pets? Speedy the Tortoise. A 12-pound sulcata tortoise. Eventually he’ll get to be about 100 pounds in about 20 years. I’ve had him for about a year and a half. Right now he’s just the size of a bag of flour. We adopted him from a friend of ours and as long as we take care of him, we’ll have to find someone to take care of him when we’re gone. He’ll live about 100 years. He’s the coolest.