Jesse Goldstein '98, President, TomKats, Inc.

imgJesseGoldstein170x150From an early age, Jesse Goldstein always found his way into the kitchen. The youngest of three children in rural North Carolina, Jesse would often lend a hand in making the food for the family. He found himself interested in not only the process of preparing the meal, but the presentation and service of it as well. It was that moment when everyone sat down to a meal around the table that everything seemed to fall into place. Over the years, this interest turned into a part-time job that soon evolved into his passion for, and ultimately a career in the food service and hospitality industry.

From high school Jesse leapt into the Culinary Arts program at Johnson & Wales University's Charleston Campus. There, he discovered the true breadth of his chosen profession. Working part-time during the two years of the culinary program, Jesse decided he wanted more and accepted an offer for a teaching assistant position and scholarship to the university’s Bachelor of Food Service Management program. The classroom environment not only allowed him to help teach, but more importantly, continue to learn from chef instructors and fellow students. With help from the Career Development Office, Jesse landed a position with TomKats, Inc. out of Nashville, Tenn. He left Charleston with two degrees and an eager passion for what would lie ahead.

At the time, TomKats, Inc. was a small entrepreneurial company in Nashville that catered to the event and music industry in town, managed and produced large concert events, and specialized in on-location catering to film and television productions. Jesse was hired as a movie chef and spent much of the next two years traveling the country catering to the stars and crews from Los Angeles to New York.

In just three years, TomKats has diversified and opened two new restaurants in Nashville. The first was the acclaimed Saffire Restaurant and Bar at The Factory in Franklin, a uniquely casual fine dining restaurant. TomKats had also been awarded the contract for SoBro Grill and Catering in the brand new 37 million dollar Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.