, the award-winning Maplewood eatery, debuts a "Farm to Table" menu for early summer. The restaurant sources food from local organic, sustainable, and environmentally conscious New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania farms, according to the menu -- and so says chef Humberto Campos, Jr.
, whose book, Celebrity Chefs of New Jersey, was published by Rutgers University Press.
Campos has seen his diners’ interest in the preparation of what they eat grow, as chef memoirs and “behind the scenes” books proliferate. “We see more interest in our open kitchen,” said Campos. “People ask more questions.”
Likewise, Campos himself has read a few such books, including Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. “It’s reassuring,” he laughed. “Like reading my life.”
As to his own selection as one of the chefs profiled in Celebrity Chefs of New Jersey, Campos was “absolutely surprised,” noting that many of the chefs listed under “Legends” were his previous bosses and mentors. “It’s a real honor,” said Campos, to be included in the book.
Campos explained to the audience, which included his parents, that Lorena’s menu changes frequently. “Mother Nature is our inspiration,” he explained, as he and his staff wait “patiently” for seasonal produce -- such as that on the summer menu.
A next wave in cooking that Campos foresees is a return to comfort food. “Mom’s back in the kitchen,” he joked, with a nod to his own parents in the audience. Fittingly, his own motto, with which he signed copies of Celebrity Chefs of New Jersey, is “Keep it simple.” The best ingredients possible and great service, he says, make for a memorable meal in downtown Maplewood.
Highlights of the menu include "Wild Caught Barnegat Scallops, Parsnip Puree, Caper, Raisin, Pine Nut, Parsley, Terhune Orchards Granny Smith Apple Glaze" and "Pistachio and Pine Nut Crusted Hudson Valley Free Range Rohan Duck Breast, Crepe of Duck Confit and Marolda Farm Turnip Greens, Braised Red Cabbage, Duck Jus." The prix fixe menu includes Risotto of Dan Lipow's Hand Harvested Local Oyster Mushrooms, Curry Emulsion."
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