FORTNIGHTLY 5: Farmed, Foraged, Fortified: 5-23-22

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Chef Train

Nick DeRosa: Publick House

The chef behind the standout in Mountainside might be both established and underground, according to his selector to the Garden State’s elite Chef Train club. But word is spreading. And, with a new butcher shop and a second restaurant on the way, his star isn’t just rising, it’s rocketing.

Bill Van Pelt: James on Main

A boy from Independence who took to the culinary life young, proving his mettle and talents while working for others, returned almost-home to set up a farm-to-table restaurant in the town he long loved. Today he joins the Garden State’s elite Chef Train club – and, as his selector says, “he’s been crushing it” for years.

Sam Freund: White Birch

Mining his Warren County roots and long connections to local farms, a chef wed to simplicity and the integrity of ingredients is our latest inductee to the Garden State’s elite club. And, in breaking news, Flanders won’t be the only place Chef Train followers will be able to stop to see the star toque in action.

Ehren Ryan: Common Lot

After working on three continents, the Australian-born chef who is this month’s chef-picked honoree planted a flag in Millburn. Can a menu be rooted in local seasons but also borderless? As his fan and selector to this elite club notes, “This man has no rules when it comes to putting ingredients together.”

Zack Melker: Toscano

He runs a prime steakhouse that’s also a haven for primo pastas. Our chef-anointed honor this month goes to the proprietor of a destination for both in Bordentown. As his fan notes, he “is the real deal.”

Meghan Cattani: Cattani Catering & Kitchen

In the case of the chef who is always at the stoves of her eponymous restaurant in Ewing, learning how to cook at the knees of her grandmothers is no cliché, no empty claim. It’s all about heart and soul and recipes “from my grandmothers’ handwriting to your table.”

Scott Anderson, of Elements and Mistral

With forests, farms and the ocean at his disposal, the New Jersey-bred chef believes he’s got a world of ingredients – and possibilities – at his disposal, right here in the Garden State.

Chris Voigtsberger of Acacia

Honest food, prepared without frills, is the mantra at this destination in Lawrenceville. But, then again, it might not be as simple as it all looks.

Chefs Rory and Aaron Philipson of The Blue Bottle Café

A caring community has built up around this innovative café in Hopewell, the next stop on the Chef Train.

Chef Brian Gualtieri of Piccola Italia

Is it any surprise that last month’s chef – who used fresh, local ingredients to create new dishes – is guiding the Train to an Ocean Township chef with a similar philosophy? Hop aboard for Italian cuisine crafted with French culinary methods from Garden State ingredients.

Chef Shuenn of Yumi

Chef Chris Calabrese of Nettie’s House of Spaghetti talks about his own favorite spot to dine out, and about the master craftsman, innovator, and community member who owns the place.

Chef Train: Dan Richer

Where do the pros go out to eat, shop or otherwise forage for their own edibles? Hop aboard the Chef Train to learn where those in the know grab a bite – or a bushel.


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