ShopRite of Greater Morristown, which opened in November in Cedar Knolls, has quickly become a popular destination store with services galore.
In addition to a cooking school, the 70,000-square-foot installation features a fitness center, daycare center, café, pizzeria, smokehouse, juice bar, pastry shop, diner and oyster bar.
When customers–or "guests," in ShopRite lingo–enter, they are handed a map showing items by aisle. Employees called Helping Hands are stationed around the story to help shoppers find what they’re looking for.
The cooking school, with the long-winded name Village Food Garden Culinary Center, is an ultra-modern, atrium-style, vaulted-ceiling facility that can be entered from the store or directly from the parking lot. It is designed as a gathering place. Tables and chairs invite shoppers to rest with a latte, snack or even a meal. In warmer weather, retractable two-story-tall windows will let in fresh air.
"Our hope is that we become a central hub for the community to gather over food and wellness, through our culinary and fitness classes, as well as family and other special events," says Amanda Fischer, director of business relations for Village Super Market, Inc. "We believe that good food takes talent, and that’s why we have pulled out all the stops, hiring the best chefs, food and wine experts, fitness instructors and team members."
In the cooking school, 18 stools surround the marble counter that is the hub of chef Danny Arturo’s teaching kitchen. Each weekday, Arturo conducts a free lunch-time demonstration and hands out plenty o’ free samples.
“I’ve got my groupies," he says with a laugh. "Between noon and 12:30 you can’t get a seat.”
Three times a week Arturo conducts workshops and hands-on classes ranging in price from $20 to $50. Topics range from cookie decorating for kids to healthy eating, hors d’oeuvres, and Italian classics.
Arturo, 46, of North Haledon, is an American Culinary Federation Certified Executive Chef and former owner of restaurants in New Jersey and Atlanta.
Jessica Guarnieri, the on-site registered dietitian, offers free one-on-one consultations. Guarnieri and Arturo often work together to bring delicious and healthy recipes to people’s attention.
“I want to educate people on food, flavor profiles and saving money,” Arturo says. “That’s my primary goal.”
ShopRite of Greater Morristown
178 East Hanover Avenue
Here are two recipes from chef Danny Arturo, C.E.C, C.C.A:
MANGO PINEAPPLE SHRIMP
1 mango, cleaned and chopped
1 cup pineapple, cleaned and chopped
2 tbsp. cilantro chopped
16 shrimp cleaned
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup green onion chopped
1 tbsp. onion chopped
1 oz. oil
Salt to taste
In a pan, heat oil; add shrimp cook for 3 minutes.
Add onion and cayenne pepper and cook for 2 minutes.
Add mango and pineapple and cook for 3 minutes.
Salt to taste and plate.
Top with green onion
FENNEL WITH SHRIMP, PANCETTA AND TOMATOES
1/2 cup fennel shoots (peeled and chopped small)
1/2 cup shrimp peeled and clean (chopped optional)
1/4 cup pancetta chopped
1/4 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half
2 tbs. onion chopped fine
1 tsp. garlic chopped fine
2 oz. oil
3 oz. butter
3/4 cup stock or pasta water
Salt to taste
In pan, heat oil, add pancetta and keep on middle heat (to render out the fat).
Add fennel and cook for 2 minutes.
Add shrimp, onion and tomatoes; cook for 2 minutes.
Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add stock and butter and reduce by ¼.
Salt to taste.
SUZANNE ZIMMER LOWERY is a food writer, pastry chef and culinary instructor at a number of New Jersey cooking schools. Find out more about her at suzannelowery.com.Click here to leave a comment