snow storms this February, The Red Bank Regional (RBR) Culinary students
managed to join the ranks of Mario Batali, Top Chef Tom Colicchio and local
restaurateurs and chefs Nicholas Harary (Nicholas Restaurant) and Victor Rallo
(Basil Ts) as guest chefs for JBJ Soul Kitchen.
The students prepared, cooked, served and hosted two dinners for 60
people in a fundraiser as part of their Guest Chef series.
JBJ Soul Kitchen proprietor and inspiration, Dorothea Bongiovi stated, “We are so thrilled to have the students here (to conduct our Guest Chef dinner.)”
Mrs. Bongiovi worked with RBR Culinary teacher Pete Roskowinski of Little Silver to pull the day together.
Guests feasted on a five-course meal of paneed parmesan crusted eggplant, a mixed green salad tossed with dried cranberries, pecans and sweet apple vinaigrette. The main course included lasagna blanked in andouille Bolognese with Cajun roasted pork tenderloins plated with jambalaya. Dinner was finished with a parfait and key lime pie.
Mr. Roskowinski who is a chef and former restaurateur was all too happy to provide this professional experience for his students while helping to raise money for Red Bank’s community restaurant.
He states, “It is extremely important for the students to get the exposure of working in an ala carte setting of a restaurant. The experience is necessary for their culinary career decision-making for their future. At the same time, they get to see the power of food as it relates to doing some good for your fellow man. To be able to take care of people less fortunate than themselves as they do at the Soul Kitchen will hopefully be a lifelong lesson.”
Helping prepare for the evening, the students unloaded the crates of food they brought from their school and started finishing the dishes at the restaurant kitchen. Several set the tables. They greeted and served guests at a 6 pm and 7:30 pm seatins.
Freshman Caitlin O’Leary of Union Beach remarked, “I love learning how to work in a professional kitchen and about the restaurant business.”
Sophomore Victoria Scamardella, also of Union Beach added, “I see cooking as an art and hope to be a chef someday. I am so happy to be given this opportunity at RBR.”
Senior Tomas Flores of Red Bank has been working in restaurants since he was 14 and hopes that RBR’s culinary; program will give him experience and knowledge in the management of a restaurant which he also hopes to study in college next year.
Chris Donnelly of Little Silver took a moment from preparation to express his thoughts on the event stating, “I think this is a great opportunity for us to give back to the community.”