2018 Talent

Jesse Newmister

Executive Chef/Owner, Kaizen

Chef Jesse Newmister has been cooking ever since he learned how to make scrambled eggs at the ripe age of two. But it was cooking by his grandmother’s hip at a local soup kitchen in his hometown of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he realized that working with food in any was capacity was his calling. Like so many of the restaurant greats, Jesse got his first taste of the industry in high school during a two-year stint at McDonald’s. 

Jesse’s training took slightly more formal shape at the Culinary Arts program at Sullivan University in Louisville, Kentucky. During his time in Louisville Jesse trained as Garde Manger with acclaimed local chef Anoosh Shariat at Park Place on Main. Motivated by a thriving culinary scene, he moved to Charleston, South Carolina where began honing his skills in the AAA Four Diamond rated restaurant, Grill 225.

In 2005, Chef Jesse reunited with previous Grill 225 colleagues Chef Shane Robertson and Brian Balest to open the Northshore Brasserie in Knoxville, Tennessee where he served as Sous Chef and then Executive Chef from 2013-2015. Chef Jesse closed a 10+ year chapter at the Northshore Brasserie on New Year’s Eve of 2015, deciding to take the leap and pursue his dream of owning his own restaurant. 

Chef Jesse opened Kaizen restaurant in downtown Knoxville in June 2016, where he serves as Owner and Executive Chef. Following the Japanese practice of “Kaizen”, or continuous improvement, he strives to combine his fasciation and passion for Asian cuisines with more than a decade of honing French techniques – always seeking to create unique and flavorful food that pays homage to its more traditional past.