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Long Valley creamery, Mansfield Township farmer are some nominated for Garden State Culinary Arts Awards

Some of Northwest New Jersey’s chefs, restaurants and farmers are candidates in the 2018 Garden State Culinary Arts Awards.

An independent voting body that includes some 150 food writers and critics, members of the Garden State Awards Committee and winners of the 2017 Garden State Culinary Arts Awards will begin casting votes today for the awards that will honor New Jersey’s restaurants and chefs; farmers, food artisans and markets; and professionals in the beer, wine and spirits industries.

The top-three vote-getters in each of the 15 awards categories will be named finalists in their respective categories, and a second round of voting will determine the winner. The winners will be announced and awards given out at a gala ceremony and reception on Sunday, April 29 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at BellWorks in Holmdel. A limited number of tickets will go on sale next week for the gala.

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.

  • Restaurant Serenade, Chatham: Nancy Laird, owner; James Laird, chef-owner

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

  • Juniper Hill, Annandale: Jennifer DeChellis, owner; Josh DeChellis, chef-owner

Best Neighborhood Food Establishment In Central New Jersey:
An informal, moderately priced, independently owned eatery 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 in Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean or Somerset counties.

  • El Tule, Lambertville: Egoavil and Anguiano families, owners
  • Lovin’ Oven, Frenchtown: Julie Klein, chef-owner; Mike Quinn, owner

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.

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

Rising Star Chef:
A chef age 30 or younger as of the previous calendar year (2017) 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.

  • Martyna Krowicka, Restaurant Latour; Hamburg

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.

  • Andrea Lekberg, The Artist Baker; Morristown

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
  • Chris Cannon, Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen; Morristown
  • Susanne Lerescu, Restaurant Latour; Hamburg

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.

  • Carlos Ruiz, Restaurant Latour; Hamburg

Outstanding Food Artisan:
A food artisan working 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
  • Jersey Barnfire Hot Sauce, Sparta: Austin D’Almeida and John Sauchelli, owners
  • Valley Shepherd Creamery, Long Valley: Eran Wajswol and Debra Van Sickle, owners

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

  • Cherry Grove Organic Farm, Lawrence Township: Matthew Conver
  • Community Supported Garden of Genesis Farm, Blairstown: Chris Welles, board chair
  • Well-Sweep Herb Farm, Port Murray, Mansfield: Louise, Cyrus and David Hyde

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

  • Maureen and Victor Avondoglio, Perona Farms; Andover Township
  • Mikey Azzara, Zone 7; Ringoes

A complete list of candidates can be found on the 2018 Garden State Culinary Arts Awards Facebook page.

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By: Jay Edwards Follow on Twitter | Like on Facebook