Extra: Jockey Hollow’s Coup: Craig Polignano Takes Charge Of Kitchen

A seasoned chef comes home to Jersey.

One of New Jersey’s most respected chefs is back in charge of a leading Garden State kitchen, after a year on the other side of the Delaware.

Chef Craig Polignano will lead the culinary team at Jockey Hollow Bar and Kitchen in Morristown, according to Jockey Hollow’s managing partner Christopher Cannon.

He’s a chef’s chef,” Cannon says, someone who enjoys “working on the line each and every day and, as such, is a great teacher—and, most importantly, he’s a Jersey boy, born and bred.”

The Jersey boy left his post as executive chef of the Ryland Inn in Whitehouse Station, a little more than a year ago to open Mistral—sibling to Mistral in Princeton—in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Craig LaBan, restaurant critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer, awarded Mistral three bells, an excellent rating. Philadelphia magazine awarded Polignano’s Mistral three stars.

Now Polignano has come home to New Jersey to work with Cannon, who has primed Jockey Hollow to attain national stature in both the food and beverage arenas.

We are both interested in featuring the best that the state has to offer,” Cannon says. “We are on the same page as to how we are going to achieve that.”

Polignano, a graduate of Ridge High School in Basking Ridge, was inspired by his family’s own kitchen and garden. The Culinary Institute of America graduate worked at Copeland in the Westin Governor Morris as well as The Bernards Inn before leaving to work for the James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Mina in California.

At the Ryland Inn, he shined not only in the kitchen, but also enhanced the inn’s multi-acre organic garden by building a 15-bed herb garden with dozens of varieties. He subsequently was promoted to executive chef at Ryland. Polignano was then tapped to lead the kitchen at the new Mistral.

But Cannon convinced the star chef to come home—as Jockey Hollow’s executive chef.

I have recently gotten to  know Craig and his intense work ethic, (as well as) his excellent and deep experience in the Jersey market,” Cannon notes.

The topper to the coup? Adds Cannon: “He’s a nice guy!”

Jockey Hollow Bar and Kitchen, 110 South Street in Morristown. 973-644-3180; jockeyhollowbarandkitchen.com.

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