Sunday brunch and family are synonymous for Jake Wolf.
“Brunch was always a big meal growing up,” he said. “We cooked a huge spread midday and kind of just hung out and did the family thing.”
Wolf recreates that experience each Sunday at Capital Club 16. He owns the popular Raleigh restaurant with his wife, Shannon.
Wolf’s culinary career started in the kitchen of the Pinehurst Country Club, but he fell in love with cooking long before that.
Before moving to the Sandhills, his father owned a restaurant in Connecticut. And his paternal grandmother, well, she can cook.
“She’s the inspiration for all of us to be in the food business,” Wolf said.
When his sophomore guidance counselor suggested he consider attending the Culinary Institute of America, Wolf started to seriously consider becoming a professional chef.
He learned his way around the Pinehurst kitchen while finishing up at Pinecrest High School. After graduating, he took his guidance counselor’s advice and enrolled at CIA.
Wolf’s culinary career took him to Germany, Atlanta, Telluride, Boston and New York before he returned to North Carolina to open Capital Club 16.
He brings that experience to the restaurant, which serves up traditional American food with European influences.
“I learned the ins and outs of traditional German cooking while working at a small family-owned hotel in the German countryside,” he said. “I got to experience a bit of both worlds – high end dining and traditional localized cuisine; that’s kind of translated over to what I like to cook here.”.
Wolf said his menu, which features seasonal and locally grown ingredients, is unique while remaining approachable.
“I like to do traditional things with my own twist,” he said. “It’s very straightforward.”
Wolf’s session during Taste of the New South will feature a Southern-Influenced, Old European-style Brunch Demonstration. He’ll show the audience how to make smoked paprika pimento cheese with local honey and fig crostini, a summer crisp potato pancake and field green salad.
“I wanted to come up with a few things people could make at home that have just four or five ingredients,” he said.
Family friend Eamonn O’Mahoney, a portfolio manager at Epiphany Wine Company, will craft a “Moore County Moonshine” brunch cocktail for the session by adding Carriage House Apple Brandy to pureed peaches grown in the Sandhills.
“It’s going to be fun,” Wolf said. “We’re really looking forward to it.”