Jay Vopatek




Slow Roasted Pork Pernil, with plantain, mojo sauce, pineapple sesame salsa, and cilantro. Caribbean BBQ sweet potato chips.


Tres Leches Cake, with whipped cream and raspberry sauce.

Jay Vopatek started cooking out of necessity. It was one of the only jobs he could get when he was younger, and it grew into a passion that required self-education he pursued with a purpose. He says, “I was picking up extra jobs at restaurants, basically working for free so I could learn more.” As his skills improved, so did his opportunities, leading him to his current position at Sunspot.

Vopatek finds that Knoxville is at a point where it’s growing culturally. With an abundance of new restaurants and new chefs, he says, “a lot of the flavors are becoming more exciting, and people are becoming more adventurous with their eating habits.”

Favorite Food to Eat: “Coming out of the cold weather going into the warm, I’d have to say Pho, which is Vietnamese noodle soup.

Favorite Food to Prepare: “Anything I can learn better or more about. I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Just make sure the whole family’s happy and having a good time. I like to change it up and be adventurous.”

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