After graduating from Johnson & Wales University, Chef Anthony Pino immediately immersed himself in the New York food scene in the kitchen at BR Guest’s Park Avalon. He then moved on in the high-volume restaurant The Garage, in the East Village. There, Chef Pino began putting his training to work, blending Italian flavors with modern American and French sensibilities.
Chef Pino went on to cross the river, and open his own home catering business and Gourmet Shoppe in Hoboken. He quickly became the preferred provider of prepared foods in the area. From there, Chef Pino began offering brunch on weekends. When the café became a favorite for brunch, selling out virtually every weekend, Chef Pino decided to open a full-service restaurant: Anthony David’s.
Chef Pino also owns and operates BIN 14, Hoboken’s first and only wine bar (opened November 2008). Blending his signature Italian style with the small plates concept, the restaurant became an instant hit, and garnered an “Excellent” review from the New York Times.
JERSEY BITES: What is your earliest food memory?
CHEF PINO: A few things, but most prominent is growing up in an Italian family. You can’t beat Sunday gravy.
When did you realize you wanted to make cooking a career? Was there an “a-ha” moment?
I was 10 years old, thinking what was I going to do with the rest of my life. My mom said, “Make sure you have a trade where you use your hands as well as your mind.” Knowing that food had a focus, it had my name written all over it.
Any interesting stories about where and with whom you started cooking professionally?
I pushed my way into being a sous chef at Park Avalon, in New York City, in 1994. It was crazy there. So many covers! I was in for a huge surprise. NYC almost chewed me up. Almost!
What is your cooking style?
My style of cooking is primarily Italian-American, with influences of French techniques.
What is the greatest opportunity that has come from cooking?
I think a little differently. I strive to create opportunity. I push forward every day.
What is the most memorable meal you’ve had to date?
Wild boar and pappardelle with fresh porcini, Pecorino. A small place, Geve, in Chianti, Italy.
It’s your last day on earth, what would your final meal be?
Sicilian pizza from Riviera Pizzeria, Medford Lakes, New Jersey.
What is the best advice you have to share with young folks interested in becoming chefs?
Patience! Just focus and the rest will come.
If you could choose to be any food item, what would it be?
My favorite: chanterelles.
What is the one “staple” food you always have in your cupboard at home?
Corn tortillas. We love tacos—the whole family does.
What is your beverage of choice?
A margarita with a little bit of heat, rocks, salt: tequila, Cointreau, lime, splash of club soda.
What is your favorite comfort food?
Burger and fries.
What New Jersey restaurant do you enjoy dining at, besides your own?
Other than my own, I love sushi at Robongi in Hoboken.
If you could have dinner with any three people, living, deceased or fictional, who would they be and why?
I love to laugh. It’s my release in life. I want to be with people who would get it. Liz Pino—my wife—then John Belushi and John Candy as his character from Summer Rental.
Are you working on any upcoming projects our readers would be interested in learning about?
We’ve recently launched Pino Hospitality—to gather Anthony David’s, Bin 14, AD Catering|Events under one umbrella. Our main focus is to pursue opportunities in new restaurants and catering venues in Jersey City and Hoboken. Our newest outpost is set to open late spring 2015. There’s something also in the works in Jersey City.
Anthony David’s Gourmet Specialties (also AD Catering and Events)
953 Bloomfield Street, Hoboken, NJ 201-222-8359
953 Bloomfield Street, Hoboken, NJ 201-222-8399
1314 Washington Street, Hoboken, NJ 201-963-WINE
Veronique Deblois, Food & Wine Chickie: Veronique is a food and wine writer based in Morris County. 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.