Jay Eitner will forever be a Jersey Boy at heart. Graduating in 1997 from Union High School, Jay received his BA from The American University in Washington DC. Jay’s educational career began in 2002, in which he taught social studies, reading, and technology in Roselle. Jay spent the next 9 years teaching and then went into school administration, first starting off as a middle school vice principal and eventually became a Superintendent of Schools. Being a Superintendent of Schools is one of the most stressful jobs in the US, and Jay found a great way to help relax.

What is your hobby?

I am a huge fan of cooking.

How did you get started with this hobby?

I started cooking in middle school. It was when the Food Channel just came on air, and so many cooking shows began to run. My Father and I began watching show after show; we then started trying to cook what was filmed. Some results were incredible, and some were disasters! I haven’t stopped cooking since.

Tell us what you love about your hobby.

I love that my cooking makes other people happy. Over the years, I have been cooking for holidays, friends, and my staff at school. There is nothing more satisfying than feeding others something they like. This is why I’ve volunteered at a soup kitchen since 2009.

What types of things/equipment have you spent money on for your hobby?

I’ve spent quite a bit of cash buying all kinds of kitchen tools, fine ingredients, and even have subscribed to monthly meal kits. There are so many components to cooking; they all require various steps and pieces to make a finished product successful!

What are some of your favorite places to shop for your hobby?

I can get lost in Williams Sonoma for hours. Cooking can go in so many directions; that’s one of the many wonderful things about it! I also love to find deals in TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Pottery Barn.

Are there any good books for beginners?

I actually love to collect cookbooks. If one is going to start, they should go to the library and browse all of the selections. Any book from Julia Child is a staple but is very complex if you’re just beginning. I would recommend any cookbook from Martha Stewart or Ina Garten; the instructions are easy to follow and the ingredients used are easy to acquire.

How has your hobby changed your life?

Cooking has allowed me to not only make other happy but relieve stress. I was told once that in order to make people happy, I should go sell donuts, ice cream, or bake something nice. Now I do.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Don’t go in with the expectations that you’re going to make a masterpiece overnight. Like any other hobby, it takes time and practice in order to master it.