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RUMSON: FROMAGERIE SAYS ‘ADIEU’

fromagerie 100615Customers found the restaurant closed without notice Monday night. Below right, chef David Burke with chef Pat Trama during post-Sandy relief efforts in Sea Bright. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

AmaPatTramaBurkeSB2012Star chef David Burke has closed his Rumson restaurant, Fromagerie.

Callers and visitors to the fine-dining establishment, which Burke acquired nine years ago, were given no reason for the closing in a message posted on the restaurant website Monday.

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RED BANK: CHEF RENEWS PASSION AT DISH

091817 ferrando dishAnthony Ferrando discusses his newly rediscovered appreciation for hands-on cooking while preparing ravioli from scratch. Below, the completed ravioli. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

091714 ferrando ravioli lighterLike movie stars who return to their roots by taking a role in a Broadway play or indie film, experienced chefs sometimes also need to revive themselves.

For chef Anthony Ferrando, a partner in the restaurant Dish in Red Bank, that means returning to the kitchen, where many of the routine tasks have been taking up by helpers, to do more inspired cooking. It also means means bringing together raw ingredients to form a recipe.

“I have a great kitchen staff here,” Ferrando said. “My sous chef, John Bonilla, has been with me for nine years, and Antonio Comacho started here as a dishwasher and is now in charge of the grill. They know what to do. They can run this kitchen.”

“There are going to be some great changes here, though,” he added in the next breath.

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SEA BRIGHT: FRESH-PLATED BY YOUNG CHEF

080714 Chuck lesbirelChef Chuck Lesbirel in the dining room of Ama. Below: a seasonal salad of Jersey peaches, Jersey tomatoes and lobster.  (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

080714 ama lobster2How does a 26-year-old become an executive chef?

For Chuck Lesbirel, now presiding over the kitchen of Ama Ristorante in Sea Bright, it starts with an impressive résumé that goes back to a 14-year-old kid washing dishes at Palate Pleasers in Keyport.

Working in restaurant kitchens, Lesbirel watched and learned the chef business with stints at a kosher restaurant, a few small places, an educational rounding-out at the Culinary Education Center at Brookdale, and then a big jump to sous chef at David Burke Fromagerie in Rumson.

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FAIR HAVEN: NEW CHEF, NEW MENU AT RAVEN

062714 raven peach shrimpNew on the menu at the Raven and the Peach, Coconut Shrimp. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

062714 raven peach chef darrylThe elegant Raven and the Peach, a showplace on River Road in Fair Haven, has brought in chef Darryl Harmon to revamp its menu.

Harmon is a busy, ambitious man, splitting his time between this restaurant and several others. Chef/owner of On the Edge Events, a catering company, he’s also the executive chef at Mana Bistro in Jersey City and a “brand ambassador” for Certified Angus Beef.  The American Culinary Federation has named him chef of the year, making him an award-winner, as well.

Taking a few minutes out of his busy schedule, Harmon sat down with PieHole in the upstairs Casablanca Ballroom to discuss his vision for the Raven and the Peach.

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RED BANK: A DICEY CHAT ABOUT CHOWDA

chowda house 040513PieHole visits Red Bank’s Chowda House to get the chef’s take on New England versus Manhattan. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

PIEHOLE logoHow’s this for warming a cold, grey December day? Today, redbankgreen‘s PieHole food page tucks into two chowders at Red Bank’s eight-month-old chowderhouse, conveniently named the Chowda House.

We chat with chef Glenn Kovacs about what’s behind a decent made-from-scratch chowder, and ask the obvious question: red or white?

Follow the links to the stories, and check out PieHole’s Facebook page or follow its Twitter feed @RedBankPieHole for up-to-the-minute postings.

SHREWSBURY: D’JEET HARVESTS THE GROVE

djeet 5Chef/owner of d’jeet Casey Pesce harvesting greens at the Grove. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

When Casey Pesce, chef/owner of d’jeet in the Grove was studying in Italy, he learned about the harmony that eating local brings to food.

“The air you breathe, the water you drink – there’s a harmony with the local food,” he says. “If you drink a Chianti in Chianti, you’re getting everything– you’re breathing the air that the grapes were breathing, the climate. You have a harmony.”

Pesce wants his customers to experience that same harmony when they dine on the kale and herbs that he serves from the gardens at the Grove.

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FAIR HAVEN: MARKET REOPENING UNCERTAIN

balderose 092113A sign on the front door announces an “intention to re-open October 1,” but that’s not going to happen, says founder Tony Balderose.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The fate of a food market that lasted just three months at Fair Haven’s most prominent intersection remains “up in the air” while a battle for ownership control plays out, one of the principals tells redbankgreen.

Balderose Fine Foods, which opened in mid-May, has been closed since mid-August because of the dispute, said founder and chef Tony Balderose, of Shrewsbury.

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FAIR HAVEN: NEW FOOD MARKET OPENS

Before carving out a career with the likes of Balducci’s and Gourmet Garage, BFF Market’s Tony Balderose, below, spent years in the telecom industry. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Now open in Fair Haven: Balderose Fine Foods, an upmarket deli taking the space formerly occupied by Gourmet Picnic bakery at Fair Haven Road and River Road.

Branded BFF Market, the shop is the creation of Tony Balderose, who expects his decade-plus experience in serving Manhattan’s finicky foodies have prepared him to compete with the likes of Brennan’s Deli in Rumson and Sickles Market in Little Silver.

 

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CHOWDA HOUSE TAKES RED BANK DOWN EAST

Chef Glenn Kovacs at work in the new Chowda House, set to open Saturday. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

It’s been almost a year and a half since redbankgreen first reported that Mary and Roy Jennings were planning a new seafood eatery on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank.

Sine then, apparently, the couple have been battening down the hatches, as indicated by the extensive use of a shipboard motif in the dining room of the Chowda House, their new restaurant located directly opposite the train station. Even the restroom doors look like bulkhead passages to a ship’s engine room.

It’s an environment that chef Glenn Kovacs says reflects the well-thought-out details of the business, which opens Saturday.

“There’s nothing like this around here,” in terms of atmosphere or menu, says Kovacs, whose travels have landed him stints in kitchens throughout the metropolitan region.

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