Appleton, Wis. (WFRV) – Jean Kasper never knew that her first job at the former Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton would be the same one she still holds today.
“When this place was being built, I would go past here every day watching it being built, and I thought, ‘This is where I’m going to get my first job,'” Kasper recalled.
Kasper left her family farm in Chilton to pursue a culinary degree at Fox Valley Technical College.
Then, she applied for a job at the same hotel she passed on the bus each morning. That was 41 years ago.
“I worked in Christie’s at nighttime as a salad prep. That’s where Lombardi’s is now, but it was like an old-time library, that was the theme of it. So yeah, that’s where I started,” Kasper said.
Through four decades, several hotel ownership changes, and thousands of guests in and out, one thing has remained; You can always find conversation and a cup of joe served up by Jean Kasper.
“I love meeting new people every day. I just think it’s quite interesting. You meet people and they become friends and you love to see them when they come again,” she said.
She’s served NFL players, actors, and even a president when George W. Bush came into town.
But no matter who comes through the doors of the Harvest Kitchen & Pantry, you can count on Kasper to serve them a smile.
“Sometimes you get people who are a little angry in the morning, but you do try to make their day better because that’s what it’s all about,” said Kasper.