Chef Tunes Up Drag Racing's Most Dominant Race Team After Years in the Restaurant Business, Roscher at Home on the Road SONOMA, Calif. While it's impossible to discount the contributions crew chiefs Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly have...
Chef Tunes Up Drag Racing's Most Dominant Race Team
After Years in the Restaurant Business, Roscher at Home on the Road
SONOMA, Calif. While it's impossible to discount the contributions crew chiefs Austin Coil and Bernie Fedderly have made to the success of the John Force Racing dynasty, which will try to lock up yet another Funny Car title at this week's Fram/Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway, the likely winner of the team's Most Valuable Player Award this year doesn't even know the firing order in a Ford V8.
The position open at JFR was for a bus driver/cook. The position filled by Jonny Roscher was chef.
Trained at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., the 45-year-old former restaurant owner has found a home on the road doing "daily dinner parties, 23 weeks a year."
For the last 24 years a resident of the Lake Tahoe area on the California-Nevada border, Roscher prepares restaurant-quality meals for the crew of 48 that travels regularly in support of the team's three Ford Mustang Funny Cars and the Mattel Toy Store Top Alcohol Dragster driven by Ashley Force.
"My whole family cooks," Roscher said. "I remember when I was 11 or 12 years old, my grandma would come over and cook everything for us. Then she'd go off for a beer and my mom would clean it all up. I thought that was a pretty good deal. I could cook and somebody else could clean up."
Roscher worked in a party center when he was just 14, then took some adult education courses in cooking before ultimately winding up at the CIA.
His first chef's position was with the Cleveland Yachting Club. After moving to the Lake Tahoe area, he cooked at the Calistoga Inn in Calistoga, Calif., and subsequently owned four restaurants before he got "fed up with the restaurant business" and began looking for new challenges.
Through a friend in racing, he got a job at Infineon Raceway (Sonoma, Calif.) where he worked with the Good Guys series. He was working at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Infineon's sister track, when he made contact with Force racing last April to inquire about the open position.
It's been a match made in high speed heaven. The crew has never eaten better and Roscher has never been happier.
"I get to cook for the best team in drag racing," he said. "People usually don't stay in the restaurant business too long because it gets repetitious. You're looking for a different challenge. This is great because every race is different. You have new challenges every week and the bonus is your cooking for a great bunch of guys."