Interviews

Wawa’s Corporate Chef on the New Food She Can’t Wait to Share With Customers

Farley Kaiser has worked with Wawa’s 840 locations for the past two years.


farley kaiser

Farley Kaiser is Wawa’s corporate chef. Illustration by James Boyle.

Before I started at Wawa, I was … a culinary-school teacher, and then corporate chef at Buffalo Wild Wings in Minneapolis. I’ve been at Wawa for two years this month.

Wawa is making a push for healthier foods — like grain bowls — because … consumers want cleaner, quality ingredients. That’s not going away, and we want to make sure we hear them.

When people say Wawa hoagies aren’t what they used to be we take it to heart. But in general, whenever we launch something, the next conversation is: How do we make that better?

One new food I’m excited to share with our customers is … a cheeseburger quesadilla. It’s a new take, with beef, American and cheddar cheeses, pickles, mustard and ketchup, all toasted in a flour tortilla. I think it’s the pickles that make it magical.

The moment I realized Wawa was a cultural phenomenon … was when someone asked for a photo. I’m on the board of an international corporate chefs association, and at a meeting, one of the other chefs came up to me and said, ‘This is going to sound really creepy, but can I take a selfie with you, because my guys back at Firebirds in Florida are going to freak out when they find out I was hanging out with the chef from Wawa.’ At that point, it clicked.

Published as “Breaking Bread With … Farley Kaiser” in the June 2019 issue of Philadelphia magazine.