Fall Ingredients: What New Jersey Chefs Crave

Cool, crisp weather. Orange, yellow and red foliage. Kids back in school. Fall’s here, and with it comes a bounty of autumnal ingredients. Some of the top chefs in New Jersey share what their favorite fall ingredients are and how they like to use them to create delicious, comforting dishes. What are your favorite fall ingredients? Tell us in the comments!

Thomas Ciszak, Chef/Owner
Chakra, Paramus
“I have been using Austrian (Steierish) pumpkinseed oil since my childhood. I don’t think I write a fall menu without using it. Pumpkin soup, roasted squash, pasta. All get the ‘oil’ treatment.”

Michael Fiorianti, Corporate Chef 
Satis Bistro, Jersey City
“Hard squashes: butternut, acorn. Soups and purees are my preference because you can really take a humble ingredient like that and make it luxurious and rich just on its own without adding a ton of butter and cream.”

Bryan Gregg, Chef/Owner 
Escape, Montclair
“That’s easy, butternut squash. I like to use it in a fall soup: butternut squash, shaved foie gras, spiced marshmallow, smoked pecans.”

Giuseppe Lentini, Chef 
Grissini, Englewood Cliffs
“My favorite seasonal ingredient is fresh wild mushrooms. Porcini, Chiodini, crimini or creste di gallo (chanterelles). They’re all great. I cook them in risotto or fresh pasta dishes like pappardelle with just garlic, oil, and fresh rosemary.”

Eric LeVine, Chef/Partner
Morris Tap & Grill, Randolph, and Paragon Tap & Table, Clark
“Butternut squash. I love making butternut squash ravioli with sage butter.”

Christine Nunn, Chef/Co-Owner
Picnic on the Square, Ridgewood (opening late October)
“So many great ingredients in the fall. It is the great marriages between the heartier veggies cooking methods and gamier meat. I would say if I had to pick one ingredient it would be hard squashes. One protein: venison. I will be doing a venison schnitzel with cranberry juniper and aquavit relish with roasted squash spaetzle.”

Chris Siversen, Executive Chef/Partner 
Maritime Parc, Jersey City
“Butternut squash is a favorite for making sauces. I also love serving it with pasta. Then pears, because they go with most anything, especially game meats. And finally, hearty greens, which add substance to so many dishes.”

Todd Villani, Chef/Owner
Terre à Terre, Carlstadt
“I love using pumpkin. I’m doing a pumpkin and ginger soup with toasted coconut. But my favorite is slicing it thin and layering it with Jersey goat cheese honey and sage in my au gratin to go with my sarsaparilla braised short ribs.”


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.