Finalists Announced for 2018 Garden State Culinary Arts Awards

Garden State Culinary Arts Awards

RELEASE: Chefs and restaurants, farmers and food artisans, professionals in wine, beer and spirits, specialty food markets and legends in all things culinary in New Jersey have been named finalists for the 2018 Garden State Culinary Arts Awards (GSCAA).

The awards will be presented by The Garden State Culinary Arts Foundation in a ceremony and reception to be held from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Sunday, April 29, at Bell Works, 101 Crawfords Corner Road in Holmdel.

The finalists for the 2018 Garden State Culinary Arts Awards are:

Best Food Market

An established, independently owned retail food market in New Jersey that demonstrates a high level of quality in goods offered, service to its customers and devotion to its community. Must have been in operation for at least five years.

The Cheese Cave, Red Bank: Stephen Catania, owner

Corrado’s Family Affair, Clifton: Corrado family, owners

Stockton Market, Stockton: Steven Grabowski and Cheryl Olsten, owners

Best Neighborhood Food Establishment

An informal, moderately priced, independently owned eatery in New Jersey with high-quality food that reflects the character of New Jersey and/or its surrounding community. Must have been in operation for at least five years. This award is given in three regions.


The Buttered Biscuit Cafe, Bradley Beach: Liz and Dave McAllister, owners

El Tule, Lambertville: Egoavil and Anguiano families, owners

Mustache Bill’s Diner, Barnegat Light: Bill Smith, chef-owner


Al-Basha, Paterson: Yasar Basha, owner

La Isla, Hoboken: Omar Giner, chef-owner

Seabra’s Marisqueira, Newark: Joaquim Fernandes, chef-owner; Antonio Sousa and Manuel Cerqueira, owners


Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern, Atlantic City: Mancuso family, owners

Little Saigon, Atlantic City: Ha and Thomas Vu, owners

Louisa’s Cafe, Cape May: Will Riccio, owner

Best New Restaurant

A restaurant opened in the previous calendar year (2017) in New Jersey that displays excellence in food and service, already has established a distinctive voice and promises to set high standards for years to come.

Cargot Brasserie, Princeton: Jim Nawn, Fenwick Hospitality Group, owner

Hearthside, Collingswood: Lindsay Piperno, owner; Dominic Piperno, chef-owner

Marcel Bakery & Kitchen, Upper Montclair: Meny Vaknin, chef-owner

Best Restaurant

A restaurant in operation in New Jersey for at least five years that displays overall excellence and consistency of quality in food, atmosphere and service and has set high standards in the industry.

Elements, Princeton: Scott Anderson, chef-partner; Stephen Distler, partner

The Red Store, Cape May Point: Lucas Manteca, chef-owner

Zeppoli, Collingswood: Joey Baldino, chef-owner

Garden State Culinary Legend

A food professional, institution or restaurant with a rich, storied history of high standards, commitment, accomplishment and influence. The contributions of the person, place or institution to the culinary arts in New Jersey must have affected residents in positive ways for at least 10 years.

Ariane Daguin, D’Artagnan; Union

Chris Mumford, Cafe Mumford’s; Tinton Falls

Maricel Presilla, Cucharamama and Zafra; Hoboken

Outstanding Beer Professional

A beer professional working in New Jersey who has proven skills and talent and has had a significant positive effect on the industry.

Augie Carton, Carton Brewing Co.; Atlantic Highlands

Michael Kane, Kane Brewing Co.; Ocean Township

Ryan Krill, Chris “Hank” Henke and Bob Krill, Cape May Brewing Co.; Cape May

Outstanding Chef

A chef in a professional capacity in New Jersey for at least five consecutive years whose accomplishments have served to inspire, educate and set standards in both the state and the industry.

Ariane Duarte, Ariane Kitchen + Bar; Verona

Shigeru Fukuyoshi, Sagami; Collingswood

Dan Richer, Razza Pizza Artigianale; Jersey City

Outstanding Farmer

A farmer whose primary income is derived from agricultural pursuits and has demonstrated significant talent and skill in the profession, as well as setting consistent standards of excellence. Must have been working as a farmer in New Jersey for at least five years.

Cherry Grove Organic Farm, Lawrence Township: Matthew Conver

Chickadee Creek Farm, Pennington: Jess Niederer

Forty North Oyster Farms, Little Egg Harbor and Belmar: Matt Gregg and Scott Lennox

Outstanding Food Artisan

A food artisan in New Jersey who has demonstrated significant talent and skill in their chosen genre and has set new or consistent standards of achievement and excellence. Must have been working in the genre for at least three years.

Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse, Milford: Nina and Jonathan White, owners

Milk Sugar Love, Jersey City: Emma Taylor, owner

Valley Shepherd Creamery, Long Valley: Eran Wajswol and Debra Van Sickle, owners

Outstanding Pastry Chef / Baker

A pastry chef or baker working in a professional capacity in New Jersey for at least three years in a restaurant, café, bakery or other public outlet who has displayed overall excellence in pastries, desserts and/or bread-making.

Jennifer Colello Carson, Lillipies; Princeton

Elizabeth Degener, The Bread Lady at Enfin Farms; Cape May

Jess Gaspero, The Farm & Fisherman Tavern; Cherry Hill

Outstanding Spirits Professional

A spirits professional working in New Jersey who has proven skills and talent and has had a significant positive effect on the industry.

Danny Childs, The Farm & Fisherman Tavern; Cherry Hill

Mark Pascal and Francis Schott, Stage Left Steak; New Brunswick

James Yoakum, Cooper Rivers Distillers; Camden

Outstanding Wine Professional

A wine professional working in New Jersey who has proven skills and talent and has had a significant positive effect on the industry.

Michael Beneduce Jr., Beneduce Vineyards; Pittstown

Sean Comninos, Bill and Penni Heritage, Heritage Vineyards; Mullica Hill

Chris Cree, Pluckemin Inn; Bedminster

Rising Star Chef

A chef age 30 or younger as of the previous calendar year whose accomplishments and talent already have served to inspire and impress and promise to set standards for years to come. Must have worked in a professional capacity as a chef for a minimum of three years, including the two most recent years in New Jersey.

Robbie Felice, Viaggio; Wayne

Valentina Fortuna, Constellation Collective; Collingswood

Martyna Krowicka, Restaurant Latour; Hamburg

Ceremony to announce winners and gala all-New Jersey reception to take place Sunday evening, April 29, at Bell Works in Holmdel.

Following an official welcome from the foundation, the awards ceremony announcing the winners will begin at 6 p.m. on April 29. A gala reception, with dishes that focus on New Jersey ingredients, will follow from 7:15 to 9 p.m. under the direction of 2017 Outstanding Chef winner Drew Araneo, of Drew’s Bayshore Bistro in Keyport, and 2017 Rising Star honoree AJ Capella, formerly of the Ryland Inn, Whitehouse Station. Students from New Jersey culinary schools will assist the chefs and their culinary captains with prep work, cooking, plating and serving the dishes.

The independent juried culinary awards program is the only one of its kind in New Jersey to honor achievement and excellence in a variety of culinary arts enterprises in the Garden State. During the past year, the nine-member GSCA Awards Committee and a statewide body of some 150 judges mined New Jersey for candidates for consideration for the awards. After winnowing down the names in each category to 10 nominees, the committee and judges voted in a first round of independently tabulated balloting.

The top three vote-getters in each category have been deemed finalists; they are listed below. Following a second round of voting, the winners will be selected and announced at the gala ceremony on Sunday, April 29.

A limited number of tickets to the ceremony and reception are on sale at Brown Paper Tickets. If purchased by Friday, April 20, tickets are $75 per person; if any tickets remain available after that date, they will be sold for $100 per person. To purchase tickets, click here.