Aqua Prime

213 Gulf Boulevard, Indian Rocks Beach, FL 33785

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Executive Chef / Co-founder

Chef Jason Vargo - Passion for Perfection

Jason's early life was the perfect preface to becoming the conscientious and imaginative chef he is today. Growing up in rural Ohio, he learned to appreciate fresh produce, meat, poultry and eggs by growing, harvesting and butchering with his family. His Hungarian mother made everything from scratch and cooked 3 meals a day with recipes that had been in her family for generations. All recipes were hand written in little books dating back to the very early 1900's. Chicken Paprikash, Dumplings, Goulash, Palacsintas, City Chicken. What inspired him was The Fresh Garden & Scratch Cooking.

“Living this life style, your whole life growing up, really makes an impact on a person’s life. A respect and understanding of food and a respect for life is the beginning of my passion for food. My first restaurant job was a Local Smoked BBQ Restaurant. I was only 14 years old working on the line in between school, pulling 30 plus hours a week.”

From the age of 14, Jason has worked on the lines through good days and bad, gaining an acceptance to Johnson Culinary in North Carolina, but unable to afford the tuition, he was still undeterred and dedicated.

“I’ve had mentors throughout my life and career. I've been in this industry for 24 years and opened Aqua Prime, December 2013. I must give thanks to the ones who have inspired me, with the knowledge they have in this industry. l’ve been very fortunate in working with very talented and gifted people I call my friends. The most recent would be Chef Greg Engelhardt, a Michelin Star Chef, the late Chef Tom Pritchard, T.J, Thielbar, and Joe Piteo. There’s more to the list but we all have those few who stand out for different reasons.”

MY LAST MEAL: I am the person who would ask for the best olive oil, the freshest herbs from around the world, garlic sliced so thin it melts in your mouth. A beautiful basket of mushrooms, truffles, porcini, chanterelles, wood ears. A box of garden fresh veggies, strictly organic, crisp n clean, buffer, cream. And a beautiful bottle of Sandeman Cask 33 Tawny Port Wine with a fresh whole sea bass and a fresh whole duck! I would not want a plated meal that someone was going to prepare for me.

I would put my jacket on one last time, button it up, tie my apron on. Preparing my last meal, smelling the aromas, hearing the sizzle of garlic In a pool of olive oil, taking my sharp knife and slicing it through the fish and breaking It down, salt & peppering the duck just enough, searing it with fresh herbs, to me the passion of the dish comes from preparing the dish. Sitting down and eating is just an added bonus to me. I would not necessarily eat my last meal, I would prepare my last meal to be honest.”

Here at Aqua Prime we are creating the Fusion of Smoked Coastal Cuisine. The countless hours of work Jason and his team put in on a weekly basis, can be seen in the quality of food you will receive when you dine with us. The team and I opened this restaurant with a vision of creating a brand, a concept, with dishes that you won't forget and a casual but upscale atmosphere in keeping with the beach lifestyle.

Executive Chef / Co-founder

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