4th Annual JOCEF Gala: An Evening Of Food, Wine, and Giving Back

4th Annual JOCEF Gala: An Evening Of Food, Wine, and Giving Back


The culinary world of the Jersey Shore is set to come together for the fourth time to celebrate the memory of Chef Joseph Romanowski in the 4th Annual JOCEF “Recipe for Success” Gala on Monday, March 27th at the Navesink Country Club in Middletown.

Known as being the chef and owner of the highly acclaimed Joe and Maggie’s Bistro in Long Branch and Bay Avenue Trattoria in Highlands, Romanowski was also a mentor who nurtured many of the Jersey Shore’s finest up-and coming chefs including Drew Araneo of Drew’s Bayshore Bistro and Chris Atamian of Porcini (both of whom will be showcasing their culinary chops at the event).

The foundation, which has awarded more than $75,000 in scholarships to the students at the Culinary Education Center in Asbury Park, expects to surpass the $100,000 mark since being formed as a nonprofit in 2014. For those who love the local food scene and want nothing more but to try out new dishes while supporting emerging talent, there’s no better night.

JOCEF Gala Features A Night of Delicious Dishes

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To celebrate the memory of Romanowski, local restaurants and partners are gearing up to share some of their favorite dishes and beverages. Enjoy innovative Italian specialties from one of the youngest chefs in the area, Chris Atamian, from Highlands’ acclaimed Porcini or delve into the classics that Ama Ristorante, Piccola Italia, Tuzzio’s, and Trama’s Trattoria have in store.
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Shore specialties will abound with fresh from the sea ingredients thanks to local “go to,” Lusty Lobster in Highlands and savory sushi bites from Yumi in Sea Bright. Since this is a community affair, it’s no surprise that Jersey Shore staple restaurants including Red Bank’s The Bistro, Danny’s Steakhouse (maybe he’ll showcase a dish from his new menu!), and Teak along with Fair Haven’s Raven and the Peach, Tinton Falls’ Café Mumford’s, Shrewsbury’s D’jeet?, and Rumson’s Salt Creek Grille will be sharing samples of their most delicious dishes. Also no stranger to community events will be Chef Drew from Drew’s Bayshore Bistro who can always be counted on bringing the spice both in his food and his personality.

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Relative newcomers to the area, but not our taste buds include B2 Bistro + Bar, Kitch Organic, and Graze Restaurant (we can’t wait to see what Chef Junior has in store). Get to know Chefs Gina and Nancy from The Vintage Cake in Red Bank, who will tempt you with desserts that (almost) look too good to eat and the Sickles family from Sickles Market in Little Silver – a local food paradise. Lastly, but certainly not least, will be the treats that the chefs in training of the Culinary Education Center at Brookdale Community College will be serving.

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If eating through some of the Jersey Shore’s most sought after restaurants aren’t enough to grab your attention, the 4th Annual JOCEF Gala will also feature beverages by Shore Point Distributing, J. Lohr Wine Estates, Folio Fine Wine Family, Ketel One Vodka, and Constellation Wines. We’re sure they’ll point you in the right direction when pairing your wine with your favorite bites.

As you make your way through over 20 of the Jersey Shore’s finest restaurants, you’ll also be privy to samples of beer, spirits, an oyster bar with an ice luge, as well as the opportunity to taste rare wines by the glass.

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As if that wasn’t enough, this evening of food, wine, and giving back, guests will also have a chance to participate in silent, live and chance auctions featuring prizes that could only be put together in an event of this caliber. Take your chance at winning dinner for eight along with a $400 voucher for cocktails with limo service courtesy of Salt Creek Grille; a sunset boat cruise for six with Lusty Lobster on the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers complete with hors d’oeuvres, seafood, and adult beverages; “The Cooler of Deliciousness” thanks to Tiger’s Tale of Princeton and Lusty Lobster; a “Wagon of Cheer” aka a wagon filled with premium liquor courtesy of JOCEF, and a “Cooking with Joe” basket featuring recipes and cookware from JOCEF.

For those looking for something other than edible prizes, try your hand to win a custom-made men’s suit from Michael Duru Clothiers in Shrewsbury or a Mercedes Pedal Car from Contemporary Motor Cars in Little Silver. Additional sponsors of the event include Ocean First Bank and Guaranteed Plants and Florists.

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For more information about the 4th Annual JOCEF “Recipe for Success” Gala scheduled for Monday, March 27th at 6:30pm at the Navesink Country Club visit http://www.culinaryjoe.org/ Tickets to the event start at $105 per person and can be purchased online.