Tag Archives: JoCEF

March: An Entire Month for Doing Good While Dining Out

With culinary fundraisers of every stripe happening all over the state this month, you and I have no excuse not to participate. If attending a gala isn’t your thing, there are many other fun and meaningful ways to support everything from cooking school scholarships to tackling a disease so rare it affects only 600 Americans – including a Princeton teen. Here’s the rundown.

(Update: It’s too late for this deal, but you can always contribute to the cause) February 28: Turning Point Restaurants’ Fundraiser for the Kortney Rose Foundation 

Turning Point fundraiserWhat: From 8 am to 3 pm, donate a minimum of $25 to the Kortney Rose Foundation at any of the 11 restaurants in this privately owned group of casual breakfast, brunch, & lunch restaurants and receive a Turning Point gift card good for two entrees to be used anytime in the future.
Where: Brick, Cherry Hill, Hoboken, Holmdel, Little Silver, Long Branch, Manalapan, Marlton, Princeton, Sea Girt, Westfield
Why: Named in memory of a 9-year old Oceanport girl who died from a brain tumor in 2006, this foundation has donated more than $1,200,000 to the pediatric brain tumor research program at CHOP.
For more info: theturningpoint.biz; thekortneyrosefoundation.org

March 5 thru 13: Hopewell Valley Restaurant Week

Hopewell Valley Restaurant Week 2016What: Take advantage of specially priced 2- and 3-course menus at 21 popular eateries, including a $25 3-course special in the bar at super-hot Brick Farm Tavern. Plus similar deals at, for example, Blue Bottle and Brothers Moon – and that doesn’t even cover the “B’s” on the list!
Where: Hopewell Borough & Township and Pennington
Why:
While enjoying your special restaurant week deals, you can leave a donation in envelopes for FISH, Hopewell Valley’s own meals on wheels program that’s subsidized and includes meals made by Pennington Quality Market.
For more info: eatinhopewell.com; hopewelltwsp.org/FISH.pdf

March 14 thru 20: Caffe Galleria in Lambertville Honoring the Memory of Founder Dawn Raia

Dawn Raia, Caffe Galleria, Lambertville

Dawn Raia, Caffe Galleria, Lambertville

What: 10% of all checks during this week will be donated to 3 organizations: Animal Alliance, Fisherman’s Mark, & Lambertville Animal Welfare
Where:
Caffe Galleria
Why:
Ms. Raia, a beloved local figure, passed away from cancer 2 years ago. This is a tribute to her spirit and the causes dear to her heart.
For more info:
caffegalleria.com; animalalliancenj.org, fishermansmark.org, lambertvilleanimalwelfare.org

March 14: 3rd Annual Joe Romanowski Culinary Education Foundation (JOCEF) Gala

JOCEF CHEFSWhat: “Recipe for Success” Gala featuring tastings from 25+ Shore eateries, among them Drew’s Bayshore Bistro, Mumfords Culinary Center, & Sickle’s Market. Auction items include vacations, dinner for 8 at Salt Creek Grille in Rumson, and a $400 voucher for cocktails and limo service
Where:
Navesink Country Club, Red Bank
Why:
Funds raised are used for scholarships for students of the Culinary Education Center, a collaboration between Brookdale Community College and the Monmouth County Vocational School District. JOCEF was established in memory of Joseph Romanowski, chef/owner of acclaimed and fondly remembered restaurants Joe & Maggie’s and Bay Avenue Trattoria. In its first 2 years, the fund awarded more than $40,000 in scholarships.
For tickets, which start at $105, & more info:
culinaryjoe.org

March 17: St. Patrick’s Day Celebration & Long Beard Contest

Alchemist and Barrister Saint Paddys DayWhat: Irish fare, bagpiper, music and step dancing, plus the 36th edition of the for-charity beard contest. Prizes for the longest, handsomest, ugliest, and most innovative beards. 
Where:
Alchemist & Barrister, Princeton
Why:
This year’s party will benefit Derek’s Dreams, named for Derek DeGregorio, a Princeton High senior who suffers from ataxia telangiectasia, to expand research on this very rare disease.
For more info: Fare & Irish libations available all day. Starting at 5 pm, a $5 entrance fee for the other festivities. The A&B has set up a GoFundMe page for direct contributions to Derek’s Dreams: gofundme.com/theaandb. Restaurant: theaandb.com

March 24: Atlantic Cape Community College Restaurant Gala

What: Tastings from about 40 Shore-area restaurants, a dessert “extravaganza,” dancing to live music, a 50/50 raffle, etc.
Where:
Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center, Atlantic City
Why:
This annual event has raised $3 million since 1984 for student scholarships at the Academy of Culinary Arts, Atlantic Cape
For more info:
Tickets, $225 per person, can be ordered via atlantic.edu/gala

NJ Super Heroes Edition: Edible Jersey! New Culinary Scholarship! Fighting River Blindness! (includes a recipe)

Edible Jersey Names 2014 Local Heroes & I Profile of One of Them

Among this year’s six winners, chosen by the readers of the magazine, are Caron Wendell & Joe McLaughlin of Lucy’s Kitchen & Market in Princeton. (You may recognize this place under its original, long-time moniker: Lucy’s Ravioli Kitchen.) Read what sets apart Caron, Joe, and all these other Garden State greats in the Spring 2014 edition of Edible Jersey.

Edible Jersey cover spring14

Here’s the full list:

Food artisan: Michael Sirchio, The Arctic Market & Butcher, Point Pleasant Beach
Food shop: Lucy’s Kitchen & Market, Princeton
Beverage artisan: OQ Coffee Co., Highland Park
Farm/farmer: Jess Niederer, Chickadee Creek Farm, Pennington
Nonprofit organization: Franciscan Charities, Inc./St. Ann’s Soup Kitchen, Newark
Chef/restaurant: Aishling Stevens, Americana Diner, East Windsor

Dine Well & Do Good at the Joe Romanowski Culinary Education Foundation (JoCEF) Gala

JoCEF logo

Last year the Shore’s restaurant community was rocked by two back-to-back tragedies: first, the decimation of Superstorm Sandy and then the untimely death of one of its most admired and beloved chef/restaurateurs, Joe Romanowski. With his wife, Maggie, the couple’s restaurants, Bay Avenue Trattoria and before that Joe & Maggie’s, were legendary.

In Joe’s honor, a group of friends – among them Marie Jackson of the Flaky Tart in Atlantic Highlands and Andy Clurfeld, who for many years was restaurant critic for the Asbury Park Press – have founded JoCEF, the central focus of which is culinary scholarships for the Shore’s aspiring chefs. On Monday, March 31st, 30 of the Shore’s most talented chefs (e.g., Drew Araneo of Drew’s Bayshore Bistro) will help raise funds at a gala at the Navesink Country Club in Middletown, starting at 6:30 pm. For the full line-up and for tickets ($75), click here.

African Soiree Raises $16,000 to Fight River Blindness (& How You Can Help)

Photo by Robin Birkel

Photo by Robin Birkel

[Adapted from my In the Kitchen column in the March 14, 2014 edition of the Princeton Packet.]

A feast of authentic African food, the telling of lively African folktales, and a spirited live auction were joyous underpinnings to gala evening I attended earlier this month that raised funds for the United Front Against Riverblindness (UFAR). This Lawrenceville-based nonprofit works to control and eliminate that disease in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

About UFAR & River Blindness

More than one-third of the DRC’s 60 million people are at risk for river blindness, which is caused by a parasite and transmitted by black flies. A donation of $10 keeps 6 people from going blind for one year. The medicine, which prevents new cases and arrests the progress of existing ones, is provided free by the Merck Corporation, with UFAR arranging the distribution. UFAR treats more than two million people each year. Annual treatment for each person is required for ten years to eliminate the disease.

Christine Shungu, daughter of UFAR founder Dr. Daniel Shungu

Christine Shungu, daughter of UFAR founder Dr. Daniel Shungu

For more about the work of UFAR – including how your $250 tax deductible donation to their Adopt-a-Village program can spare a village of 500 people from river blindness – visit www.riverblindess.org, or phone 609.771.3674.

About the African Soiree

Much of the evening’s food was prepared by volunteer members and friends of the Princeton United Methodist Church and almost everything else was donated – including the space at the Princeton Theological Seminary and fare from two area restaurants: Makeda Ethiopian restaurant in New Brunswick and Palace of Asia in Lawrence.

Goat Stew a la Congolaise, Saltfish with Collards, Fufu

Goat Stew a la Congolaise, Saltfish with Collards, Fufu

Among the 20-plus church and UFAR volunteers who cooked for the event was Isabella Dougan, who made African banana fritters (recipe below).

They can be served plain or with hot sauce or dusted with confectioner’s sugar.

AKARA (Banana Fritters)
Isabella Dougan
Serves 4

3 ripe bananas, peeled
1 cup rice flour, plus more as needed
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup olive oil

  1. Mash the bananas in a bowl into a smooth paste. (Alternatively, use a food processor.)
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl. Add the mashed bananas, mixing well. (Add additional flour if the mixture is too soft, or water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the mixture is too stiff.)
  3. Heat oil in a skillet until medium hot. Scoop round tablespoons of the banana mixture into the oil and flatten slightly. Cook until underside is medium brown and flip over to fry the other side.
  4. Place cooked balls on paper towels to remove excess oil. Serve hot.