Yarmouth teen’s recipe dresses up his salad days

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YARMOUTH — Some teens start looking for their first summer job at age 14.

Jasper Chappell started his own business.

JP’s Kitchen, which sells Chappell’s specialty, classic French vinaigrette, launched June 7 at the first Yarmouth Farmers Market of the summer.

The mixture of vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, oregano, lemon juice and basil, Chappell said, is perfect for salads or a marinade.

It’s a simple recipe, he said, but it definitely caught shoppers’ attention. Within 15 minutes of opening his booth, JP’s Kitchen had already sold four jars of the vinaigrette.

At first, Chappell said, he was nervous. But after he sold out in only two hours, the nerves were replaced with excitement.

Chappell began making his rendition of the classic dressing several years ago by using recipes passed down on both sides of his family.

After a marathon day of mixing vinaigrette to serve at a party his family was attending, his mother, Gabrielle Melchionda, gave Chappell the idea of selling it at the market.

“It’s such a classic,” Melchionda said. “This is what I grew up on, what JP’s father grew up on and what his grandmothers grew up on.”

Chappell sells small Mason jars of the dressing for $6, two for $10, and large Mason jars for $8, two for $15. Each jar is branded with a JP’s Kitchen sticker, which Chappell designed with help from one of his mother’s friends, who is a graphic designer.

For now, Chappell plans to invest his earnings in packaging and more supplies. He’s a rising freshman at Yarmouth High School, and eventually hopes to save up for a car and college.

Entrepreneurship and a knack for perfecting a recipe are two things that run in Chappell’s family. Melchionda is the founder and president of Mad Gab’s Natural and Organic Bodycare; his father, Matt Chappell, is the owner of Gather restaurant, which will celebrate its sixth year in business in September.

Though Chappell said he doesn’t do much cooking at home, he spends a lot of time in Gather’s kitchen making his vinaigrette. When asked what other foods he likes to prepare, he laughed and said, “ramen noodles.”

Chappell said he doesn’t have much planned for his business yet, but will don his white JP’s Kitchen apron and set up shop from 3-6 p.m. at the farmers market again on June 21, July 12 and 26, and Aug. 2 and 23.

“We wanted to start small,” Chappell said.

For him, kicking off business at the farmers market made perfect sense; he lives right across the street and has been visiting the market with his mother and grandmother for years.

Melchionda said they’re also working on coming up with a plan for how to reach to customers outside the farmers market. Mail orders may eventually be possible.

For now, Melchionda said people can contact her by phone or email, at gabrielle@madgabs.com, to coordinate pick up and local deliveries between markets.

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or jvansaun@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @JocelynVanSaun.

Jasper Chappell launched his business, JP’s Kitchen, and sold out of his specialty French vinaigrette at the first Yarmouth Farmers Market of the season June 7.

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