Nottingham High school teacher and coach Jason Marasco shows off his skills in the kitchen at the school Feb. 19, 2014. (Photo by Albert Rende.)

Nottingham High School coach manages his own catering company, Marasco’s in Your Home Cooking and Catering

Jason Marasco always has a lot on his plate, literally and figuratively.

Just a few weeks ago, he put a lot of food on a lot of plates—about 5,000 guests’ worth—at the Super Bowl, one of the country’s hungriest occasions. The Nottingham High School physical education teacher coaches Northstar wrestling and track and field, but cooking is a passion he doesn’t get to practice at the school. His catering business, Marasco’s in Your Home Cooking and Catering, was hired to provide food at the NFL’s Pregame Tailgate Party at the Meadowlands Race Track, where he cooked clams casino and pork roll.

Marasco gew up assuming he’d have a career solely in the food industry. His father, Dante, owned three bakeries—Dante’s Cakes and Bagels—throughout Bucks County in Richboro, Ambler and Penn’s Park. His father continually advised against it, suggesting that he’d do something easier to guarantee a little time off.

“You never get a break when it’s your own business,” Marasco said. “The food business is so labor-intensive. You never get any vacations off because that’s the busiest time. I took his advice and went to college.”

He decided to pursue a career in physical education, but while he was in school, he just couldn’t stay away from the stovetop. He spent summers cooking, bartending and waiting tables in Cape May and often prepared meals recreationally for his friends on the side.

Then, in 2000, he decided to make a business out of it.

“I was doing it before that, but it was just like family members that knew,” he said. “I got some cards made up, put together a menu. I was still in college, and I was doing parties here and there. That’s when I made a menu and started to hand it out.”

Marasco said his menu has undergone “a thousand” changes over the last 14 years. He’s pared it down and added a wider variety of gourmet-style items—though party foods like wings, ribs and roast beef will always be a part of his selection.

“I just kind of took it up a notch with the nicer food that I’m providing now,” he said.

Marasco specializes in Italian dishes and said his vodka rigatoni, fettucini alfredo with sausage and mushrooms, chicken francese, chicken parmesan and chicken marsala are among his most popular entrees.

“I make everything from scratch,” he said. “I don’t buy anything done. My wing sauce is my own wing sauce.”

Most of his business came and still comes through word-of-mouth, as he doesn’t advertise. Much of the Nottingham faculty and many area coaches not only know about Marasco’s business, but they have hired him to cater parties of every kind. He often provides food for the swim team’s annual banquet, which is how Megan Doolittle discovered him.

Her daughters Rachel and Rebecca, both 22, and Bridget, 18, all swam at Nottingham. Marasco catered all of their graduation parties.

“Over seven years, I’ve always looked forward to the swim banquet,” she said. “I’m kind of picky about food. I’ve been to enough events and experienced different types of caterers. I thought his brunch and breakfast was good, so we took a chance. It turned out so well.”

She was approached by several guests who ended up using Marasco for their own parties.

Marasco said he’s never gotten a complaint about his food or service, and Doolittle is not surprised.

“He’s a beloved teacher and individual in and out of the high school,” she said. “He has a great personality. He’s approachable, down to earth. Just a very real, friendly, kind person. He’s a great person.”

Still, though, she doesn’t know how he’s able to juggle his business, teaching and coaching two sports, all while helping take care of his 4-year-old twins Jason and Mia.

His wife Lynda has an idea.

“I just call him Superman,” she said. “He has tons of energy, the energy of a teenager. I swear I wish I had his energy. He’s right on the floor with the kids wrestling with him, and I’m about to pass out. He’s just very passionate about everything he does. You see that in coaching, his cooking, his parenting style. He’s so passionate, and that energy just comes out.”

Marasco said it all stems from a desire to stay active and work constantly, which certainly came in handy Super Bowl weekend; it coincided with the wrestling Mercer County Tournament.

“I pretty much worked around the clock to get it done and make sure I could still coach,” he said. “I was cooking, coaching, going up there and cooking again. It was exhausting. I probably got about nine hours of sleep all weekend. I didn’t not want to be there for my kids. I know they wanted me in their corner. It was tiring, but it was worth it. I’d do it again this weekend.”

Marasco recently launched a new branch of the business: in-home cooking and wine pairing lessons. He promises customers will “eat, laugh and drink with the best.”

“I’ll basically be the entertainment and cook,” he said. “If you want to learn how to cook, you watch me, and I’ll show you and talk you through it. If you just want to hang out and eat and drink with me and not even care and just watch me cook, that’s fine, too.”

Whatever option you choose, he guarantees a top-notch experience.

“My father had a scratch bakery,” he said. “Everything we make is from scratch. We did it all, so that’s how I want to do it. Gourmet quality foods with no shortcuts.”

For more information about Marasco’s In Your Home Cooking and Catering, contact Jason Marasco at jasonmarasco@ymail.com. Phone: (267) 808-2878.