My First Job

By Hannah Wallace June 30, 2008

Jon Sutter enjoyed a long and varied career in the restaurant biz before joining Landings Travel as its sales and marketing manager. Now, as a member of the national Epicurean Travel Consultant Board, he’s drawing on his culinary experience to help create epicurean travel adventures for others. For the record, his favorite meal to prepare is osso bucco.

“I grew up in Wisconsin, and when I was a teenager I decided to take a food-service class to get school credit. I had to work in a restaurant for nine hours a week and while I was there, I realized how much I liked cooking.

“After working at a local restaurant the summer after high school, I moved down here in 1977 to work as the chef at the Magic Moment Restaurant, which could seat 400 people. I was there for nine years and then moved to London to open a restaurant; I worked five to seven days a week on the design of the kitchen and the hiring and training of staff. Soon after, I realized I was homesick, so I moved back to Sarasota and worked at several other restaurants, including the Magic Moment, Beasley’s, the Flight Deck, the Bird Key Yacht Club and an Italian restaurant called Piccolo Mondo. And I took classes at SCTI to receive the title of ‘chef de cuisine’; I did very well on every portion of the [accreditation] test except for the baking part.

“Eventually, I decided I wanted to start working more normal hours, so I took a job at Home Depot and worked my way up from part-time lot maintenance to assistant manager. Four years ago, I decided to get out of that and join my wife at Landings Travel, which she owns. It’s a great opportunity to meet people and see the world. I was recently selected as a board member for the Epicurean Travel Consultant Board, which was created by the Virtuoso travel network and Bon Appetit magazine. The board is still in the planning stages, but I imagine it will involve putting together epicurean trips in areas that are known for great cuisine. People want to do something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives; this is about experiential travel. And for me, it’s a great way to marry two things I’m passionate about.” —Megan McDonald

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