What New Jersey Chefs are Thankful for this Thanksgiving

The devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy left many New Jersey residents without power, with property damage of varying levels and in dozens of cases, without life. There are many reasons to be thankful this holiday season.

We polled some of New Jersey chefs to see what they are most thankful for this Thanksgiving, and here are their answers. Stay tuned tomorrow for some favorite Holiday recipes from our Chefs.

Chef Anthony Pino

Chef Anthony Pino of The Dining Room at Anthony David’s and Bin 14: “I’m most thankful for being blessed with something that is beyond words. The bond of family and love that I share with my wife Liz, and my children Bianca and Anthony Carson. The unconditional support we share with one another in good times and bad times. My outlook on life’s special gift of health that we have been granted.”

Chef Josh Thomsen of Agricola Community Eatery, 11 Witherspoon St., Princeton NJ, (opening January 2013): “Thankful for living close to family this holiday season for the first time in 20 years!” (Chef Josh is a NJ native who has worked in the SF Bay Area and Las Vegas including The French Laundry under Thomas Keller.)

Chef Bill Zucosky. Photo by Terry Krongold

Bill Zucosky of Westminster Hotel  & Strip House, Livingston NJ: “I recently had a best friend pass away due to cancer. Watching him lose the battle was extremely painful.  This year more than ever, I am thankful for my health!  It doesn’t matter how much money you have or what your worldly possessions might be; if you are dead or in poor health those things don’t mean squat!!  Exercise, eat right, be mentally awake and enjoy life while you can.”

Chef Eric LeVine

Eric B LeVine of Morris Tap & Grill: “I am thankful for the fact that all my customers are safe after the hurricane, that my staff while stressed after the horrific storm, still managed to come in to work everyday while their own lives were in chaos to serve our amazing extended family we call customers.”

Chris Siversen of Maritime Parc, Jersey City: “The support network that we have when we need help — and they need help as well. Reciprocity makes me thankful.”

Ilson Goncalves of Samba Montclair: “I never ask for anything more than health, because if you don’t have your health, you have nothing.”

Francesco Palmieri of The Orange Squirrel: “I am very thankful solely for existence — life is very precious and the fact that every day I am able to create a product that people will consume is an honor since, as they say, your body is your temple.  It is very spiritual and it always amazes me that we are able to be a part of that.”

Sam Mickail, of Sam Mickail’s CUT Steak House (opening December 2012): “A healthy family, and of course, the long-awaited and much anticipated opening of my new restaurant, CUT.”

Chef Michael d'Ennery

Michael d’Ennery of Mark Joseph’s Grilled Pizza & Restaurant. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for many things. Most of all I am thankful that my family and friends are all safe and sound after a horrific storm. Being from New Orleans I take thes things very much to heart.My home was undamaged while a 100ft pine tree that sits not 5ft from my bedroom fell on a neighbor’s car(I was watching the crane on CNN when it came down). My mother lives next to the building on 57th that had that loose crane and didn’t even know until I called her! Many friends have lost their restaurants completely or do not know when or even if they can re-open, but they and their families are safe. In the end, isn’t that all that should matter ?

Oh, and I’m always thankful for Pork….

Chef Marc Marotta

Marc Marotta of Ciao. My family. Without them I would have never been able to accomplish what I have today. I am most Thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Veronique Deblois, Food & Wine Chickie: Veronique is a food and wine writer based in Morris County, NJ.  As the author of the popular blog, Food & Wine Chickie Insider, Veronique shares recipes, wine and restaurant reviews and insight into the travel industry of which she’s a 15-year veteran.  Follow Veronique on Twitter or like her Facebook page.