Justin Kaplan created Tahoe Bagel Company in 2019 and looks forward to opening in the next few weeks and serving the community as the head of baking and production. After selling his restaurant in Philidelphia and moving to Tahoe, Justin competed in and won two Sierra Chef Challenges at Sample the Sierra, and he plans to get involved in more community events and volunteer work once Tahoe Bagel Company opens fully.
Congratulations to this week’s 40 under 40 honoree, Justin Kaplan!
Can you tell us a little about your responsibilities and accomplishments in your current position?
Tahoe Bagel Company was created in 2019 by me and my brother, Jeff. My lead responsibility is head of baking and production. As the business nears opening one of the most major accomplishments would have to be overall creating this new dining space and establishment, I have also spent the winter working at various bakeries, bagel stores, and delis back in New Jersey to get the needed experience, also while there I spent some time in Long Island, NY working with a French Master baker on various bread baking techniques.
What has been your favorite professional moment in the last year?
My favorite moment of this was the point that I was officially decided to re-direct my 16-year career as a chef towards becoming a baker/bagel store owner. It was a scary and humbling decision to change courses.
Do you have a professional/life mantra that you live by?
No real “Mantra”, but I try to chase what challenges me, help others when I can, and live fiercely.
Who is your role model?
I have a few role models professionally and family. My professional role model was my mentor chef who introduced me into the world of professional cooking. He showed me the professional standard to live up and work towards. My family role model is my father. I am the adult and business owner that I am because of him and how he raised us. He set a life standard as a man, business owner, and father that I strive to live up to daily.
Why choose Tahoe to make your home and career?
I moved here after owning my open restaurant just outside of Philadelphia in 2012. I had not done much impulsive traveling like your supposed to in your twenties. So I was approaching 30 I wanted to live a little and travel. In a months time I sold my restaurant and found a chef job at Martis Camp in Truckee. Tahoe had always been on my radar because of its obvious beauty, but also has a strong economy because of the year round tourist draw, something that not many ski towns offer.
Are you active in any volunteer roles or community groups?
Tahoe Bagel Company is a part of the South Tahoe Restaurant Association, I personally am active as an assistant wrestling coach for the high school, I have participated in Sample the Sierra and competed two times, winning both, in the Sierra Chef Challenge, and once operational Tahoe Bagel Company will continue to do local events, and hopefully sponsor a team or sport.
What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?
I, like most of us who live here, try to enjoy all that Tahoe has to offer. I ski, mountain bike, hike, workout, and on my bucket list is to learn to Scuba Dive.
Where are your favorite South Shore stomping grounds?
Some stomping grounds I enjoy are Verde, Gym Love, Naked Fish, Live at Lakeview, Coldwater Brewery, and Cali Burger.