Born in Sicily, I came to the US at the age of 10 and grew up in Brooklyn. Good food was important and my mom shopped for food daily the way she did in Italy. From a young age she taught me about seasonality, freshness, quality, value, and Mediterranean cooking. I grew up eating home cooking, seasonal and tasty Mediterranean style cooking and came to value using fresh ingredients from the local markets, “light broths” and tasty tomato sauce made daily from locally picked produce.
I attended the NY Restaurant School now known as The Art Institute and graduated in 1987, and after graduation, landed a job at the Plaza Hotel. Under Chef Kerry Simon, known as “The Rock & Roll Chef,” I worked with some of the finest talent in NY, creating upscale cuisine with a European flair. During my time at the Plaza’s Edwardian Room, I learned different techniques and developed presentation skills that progressed my culinary acumen.
After working in New York City for a number of years I joined Marriott, where I worked for 18 years in several capacities and in 5 hotels alongside world renowned executive chef Mark French and certified Master chef Ken Arnone. I was part of the opening team at the Brooklyn Marriott where we won hotel of the year awards in back to back years, and I have spent the last 7 years working for Wyndham as an executive chef.
Food is in my blood, and cooking is my passion. Food helps me relate to culture and my family, and I am always thinking about what I can do to incorporate fresh, seasonal ingredients into my dishes. I am looking to combine my New York City experience with the Mediterranean food of my heritage to create a fusion of traditional and chic in Morristown.
-Chef Nunzio Cassara