Pared Pro-File: Virgil Versoza

Virgil training his son Jaxton in the art of the spring roll.

My name is Virgil and I hail from Sacramento, California. I came to San Francisco to develop my career and I’ve worked on Pared for the past two years.

I love eating. It was everything to me when I came to San Francisco for college. My girlfriend at the time took me to San Tung and of course, we had their dry fried chicken wings. I fell in love. What started as a couple weekends of playful cooking became months of trying to understand, to replicate these textures and flavors. I really embraced my new love for cooking and I enjoyed making people happy when I fed them. Next thing I knew, I was walking out of community college but had registered for culinary school. That’s how I began my career.

When I first got out of culinary school, I worked at Italian restaurants. It was nothing fancy; I was mainly in charge of prep, pizza, and pantry. My first fine dining experience nearly destroyed my will to cook. I was always getting yelled at and since I wasn’t used to how aggressive the kitchen culture is. I took it very personally. From then on I continued to work all over Sacramento. One of my favorite things I did early in my career was host pop-up dinners with my friends. We didn’t really know what we were doing and made no money doing it, but it really gave us an outlet for our creativity. There were three of us that hosted over ten different dinners in 2013. We even competed in the Folsom Chili Cook-off and placed 2nd in our first ever competition.

Virgil (middle) standing with his 2nd place ribbon alongside his teammates Byron (right) and Bryan (left) who also works on Pared.

I caught myself always looking for something new whenever I got bored or frustrated. It resulted in myself becoming the true definition of a kitchen slut, moving from one kitchen to another, in hopes of something better than the last.

Whippin’ the whip at one of his first pop-ups “The Attic”

After about four years in the industry, I tried my luck in San Francisco. I saw Pared’s ad on Craigslist “Uber for cooks” and had to give it a shot. At the time, I figured it was a great way to find what restaurants I would like working at. I didn’t realize how new the company was, how I was the 13th person to join the platform before there was even an app. I would wake up to 40 unwarranted text messages every morning. At first, I only worked Pared gigs once or twice a week. I was working at the Airbnb cafeteria at the time so I was making decent money and Pared was a way to get work on my days off or if I just needed money for whatever reason (since they pay weekly.) After my stint at Mourad, I went full-on working on Pared. I was working 60 hours a week and it really helped me transition out of a job, which seems to always be hard for me. Eventually, working on Pared led to my full time hiring at Petit Crenn, and working for Chef Aaron Thayer has been the highlight of my culinary career.

Then I suddenly found out I was going to have a baby and everything changed. I worked as many shifts as I could before my son was born and we moved to Orange County. Long story short, I moved back to Sacramento. I couldn’t quite find the right restaurant that would be able to accommodate my newborn baby schedule and desired salary, so I returned to working on Pared again. One of the best things about Pared is the ability to come and go as needed (as long as you are in good standing).

Virgil shucking oysters at an Art Gallery for Blackbird.

Of all the times I’ve worked for Pared, this time around has definitely been the best. The app works great and there are so many more unique restaurants and people I’ve met through Pared. My favorite people to work for are Komaaj. They’re an Iranian pop-up that operates through Feastly and uses their venue to promote their brand. They were mechanical engineers until they started embracing their love for cooking. Not only are they the nicest people I’ve ever worked for, they also were able to connect me with Feastly so I’ll be able to do my own pop-up dinners again.

I still currently live in Sacramento and work in San Francisco during the week. I plan my schedule around my son, whom I have on weekends. Pared gives me the ability to work 50 hours in the span of three and a half days. I’m able to make enough money to support myself and my son, and I have enough time to bond with him as well. Pared has really given me peace of mind. I also really feel like my work ethic is finally showing and people are appreciating me for it. I’ve never had a job as fulfilling as this. If anyone is wondering whether or not Pared is for them, just try it out. Check out a restaurant with food you enjoy working with. You’ll soon find out how helpful everyone is, how exciting it is to work in new kitchens every day, and most importantly how grateful the people are when your shift comes to a close.

Virgil mapping out plates at The Burritt Room with Byron (left) and Chris (right)