Before launching his real estate career in 2018, Jay Caputo enjoyed a successful career as a professional chef. He graduated from The Culinary Institute of America in 1997 and worked all over the country in high-end restaurants for 20 years. Jay ascended to the top of the restaurant world in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where he owned several restaurants.

“[I was] selected as a semi-finalist for the prestigious James Beard Award for Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic five times,” Jay explains. “It was a great run, but I chose to retire to help shape the future of my family in a more present manner.”

Real Estate: For the Good of His Family 

Jay’s move to real estate was all about providing for his family. While he loved his work in the restaurant business, the hours were grueling and it was a challenge to find consistent time with his son, Seph, and wife, Anna.

“I worked so hard as a professional chef and missed some really exceptional moments early in my son’s life,” Jay admits. “So when I decided to retire as a chef and become an agent, I was ready to become a more integral part of my family’s lives. The beauty of the switch is that I was able to accomplish this goal. It has been a win-win for me, my family, and our day-to-day lives.”

Jay has discovered many similarities between his work as a chef and restaurant owner and his work in real estate. One primary connection is service. “I pride myself on my approach to this new profession, coming at it from a hospitality-first approach,” Jay says. “I try to listen to what my clients are saying and be mindful of that, and then use all of our tools to go find it for them.”

Jay also draws on the strong work ethic he developed running restaurants. From day one in real estate, he knew he would have to outwork his peers to get his business off the ground. However, he soon developed another approach. “After six months, I started to focus on a ‘smarter, not harder’ approach,” Jay says. “So I believe that the creativity in my approach, coupled with the tireless approach, sets me apart.”

Jay’s strategy is working. In 2019, his second year in the business, he closed $11.2 million. He leads with service and integrity, and the results show. “I truly enjoy helping people and families find what they are looking for. It is a great feeling for a client/friend to hear that their offer has been accepted or that their home has multiple offers. I love being able to help families achieve their dreams.”

It’s All For Family

Jay’s son, Seph, is now almost five years old. Jay considers raising Seph to be his greatest achievement. “My wife, Anna, is a partner sent to me from the positive energy in the world,” Jay smiles. “I am so eternally thankful for them.”

Jay’s grandfather, the first in a line of four Joseph Vincent Caputos, was an Italian immigrant who settled in New Jersey, where he opened a deli. He later picked up his family and moved to Delaware, opened another deli, and eventually became a real estate agent.

“I did not intentionally follow in his path, even though he was a huge inspiration for me. It just so happens I did, which is pretty freaking cool,” Jay says.

For Jay, his success in real estate comes back to what he can provide for his family. After so many successful years as a chef, he’s grateful for the opportunity to build a new business on his own terms.

“For me and my family, success is happiness and togetherness. This is achieved through hard work, education, and attention to detail for my clients. And through this, I am able to provide for my family, spend valuable time with them, and we are able to travel and have experiences that bring us closer together. After working as hard, and as many hours, as I did for so long as a chef, I am thankful for this opportunity to experience life.”