Welcome back to Patch Picks, a weekly feature highlighting editor and reader picks of great local businesses, destinations, services, organizations, ways to spend a day off, and more. This week, Patch Picks looks at some of the best chefs in the area.
- Chef Jack Zaroaski
, 268 Terrace Avenue, Hasbrouck Heights
Chef Zaroaski, a graduate of the New York Restaurant School, has worked at some of the top Manhattan restaurants such as Sardi’s before opening the Ivy Inn in Hasbrouck Heights. Some of the Ivy Inn’s known specialties include roast rack of lamb and blackened Louisiana catfish.
- Chef Jimmy Perides
, 229 Paramus Road, Paramus
Chef Perides has trained with Master Chef Nino D’urso at four-star Italian Restaurant Capriccio in Providence, Rhode Island and has also trained with Mario Batali of New York City’s famous Italian Restaurant, Babbo. Biagio’s signature dish is the Steak ala Chef, frutti di mare.
- Chef Sammy Gnasso
, 116 Main Street, Fort Lee
Chef Gnasso, a lifelong Fort Lee resident, studied at the Culinary Institute of America which quickly led him to serve some of the who’s who clientele of New York City. Shortly thereafter he began a Classic Touch Catering which led to his first restaurant Memories which specialized in American and continental cuisine. From there he decided to go back to his Italian roots and opened In Napoli. He also hosts his own cooking TV show on Time Warner Cable.
- Chef Marcos Calle
, 279 Kinderkamack Road, Oradell
Chef Calle began his culinary career in his family’s kitchen when he began experimenting and creating dishes. His culinary interests led him to study at the French Culinary Institute of New York. Prior to opening Felice in 2003, he began his career at Bice Restaurant in Manhattan and later served as executive chef of the banquet division for the Hilton Group in Fort Lee.
- Chef John Pineda
, 105 Old New Bridge Road, New Milford
Chef Pineda has spent more than 30 years in the restaurant business. Pineda brings his culinary expertise from chic cafes, country clubs and hotels to his position of executive chief at Sanzari’s which specializes in Italian-American cuisine.
- Chef Sook
, 24 South Broad St., Ridgewood, 201-493-2500
Tossing aside American conventions, this graduate of SoHo's French Culinary School told Patch last month, "Crepes are better than sandwiches.” Formerly with Manhattan's Payard Patisserie, Keum-Sook Park crafts diverse culinary delights such as fruit-filled sweet crepes and savory crepes that, more often than not, back up her bold assertions.
- Chef Christine Nunn
, 14-25 Plaza Road, Fair Lawn, 201-796-2700
A relatively new addition to the northern New Jersey culinary scene, Christine Nunn runs Picnic the Restaurant in Fair Lawn with an obvious true love of Italian food. Nunn, a third-generation Radburn native, studied at the Culinary Institute of America.
- Chef Craig Levy
, 203 Rock Road, Glen Rock, 201-670-4945
Another CIA graduate makes his way onto our list by fusing fresh ingredients and creative ingredient combinations to rejuvenate the sometimes-staid Northern Italian fare that finds its way to our shores. Levy, RoCCa's owner and executive chef, previously worked at the Gotham Bar and Grill in Manhattan and the legendary Waldorf Astoria.
- Chef Michael Velicu
, 23 N Broad St., Ridgewood, 201-447-0022
Grand pronouncements are not in short order at Chef Velicu’s Ridgewood restaurant Mediterraneo. The restaurant creates its menu by building on the resourceful palette of its chef/owner, and the careful consumer will notice tastes emerging from Turkey, Greece, Spain, Morocco, Italy and the south of France. Velicu — a graduate of the French Culinary Institute — runs the restaurant with his wife Marilena.
Do you know of any other top chefs? Tell us in the comments.