Change of Chefs at Two NJM Top 25s

Michael O'Shea promoted at Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen; Christine Migton, one-time apprentice at Chez Catherine, returns as executive chef.

Jockey Hollow Promotes From Within:

Kevin Sippel, who has been executive chef of Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen in Morristown since it opened in late 2014, worked his last shift Saturday night. Yesterday, on his 40th birthday, Sippel and his wife moved back to their native Buffalo to help look after his ailing parents.

“It was a tough decision,” said Sippel. “The recurrence of my mother’s cancer, which we thought was gone, and my father’s continuing ill health, made it necessary.”

Paying tribute to Sippel, who helped Jockey Hollow make NJM’s Top 25 list in its August Best Restaurants issues of 2015 and 2016, owner Chris Cannon said, “Kevin’s a classically gifted, technically excellent chef, one of the few executive chefs who actually worked the line every night.”

Cannon has promoted Sippel’s longtime chef de cuisine, Michael O’Shea. Though O’Shea will retain his present title, Cannon said, “Michael will lead the kitchen team. Michael’s been here since we opened. He was promoted to sous chef, then head sous chef, then chef de cuisine. He’s rock solid, works his ass off, is really calm and grounded in the moment. We have a kitchen full of people like that.”

O’Shea, 35, grew up in Parsippany, earned a degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan in 2007 and was sous chef at Salt Gastropub in Byram before joining Sippel’s opening team at Jockey Hollow.

“It’s a pretty great place to work,” said O’Shea. “We’ve got a great crew. A lot of us have been here since the beginning, something you don’t see often. Usually it’s a revolving door. That speaks volumes about Chris and Kevin and the restaurant as a whole.”

Sippel, for his part, attributed the solidarity to his and Cannon’s belief in promoting from within and “wanting it to be about the restaurant, not about me or any one person. The men and women I’ve worked with every single day are the best work force I’ve ever been a part of. They are driven to be the best. I think they’ll continue with what we set out to do.”

(One who is leaving the team, however, is banquet chef Dennis Matthews, who next week will move across town to the Blue Morel restaurant at the Westin Governor Morris Hotel.)

Cannon said he will take a more active role in “providing direction in the food. What I like to do best is the creative stuff, getting involved with food and picking wines.”

Jockey Hollow, with its three menus plus parties and special events on three different floors, “allows me the opportunity to keep doing that till the end of my days,” he added with a laugh.

Sippel will become chef of the private Buffalo Club, which was founded 150 years ago this year, with then former president Millard Fillmore as its first president.

Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, 110 South Street, 973-644-3180

—Eric Levin

At Chez Catherine, the Third Time is the Charm:

Christine Migton has been named chef of the classic French restaurant Chez Catherine, in Westfield, a frequent winner of NJM Top 25 honors under its former owner, Didier Jouvenet.

Last fall, Jouvenet retired and sold the restaurant to his longtime maitre d’, Stéphane Bocket.

In March, Bocket briefly closed Chez Catherine for a facelift as well as HVAC and other improvements. At the end of the month, he reopened with Migton, a CIA graduate, replacing Klaus Krosteiner as his chef.

“I’ve known her for 12 years,” he tells us. “She started as an apprentice here, and later was our sous chef for two years. She is quite capable, and I am very happy to have her back.”

Chez Catherine, 431 North Avenue West, 908-654-4011

—Eric Levin

 Calandra’s Hires Noted Chef:

 When last we spoke with Francesco Palmieri, chef/owner of the iconic Orange Squirrel in Bloomfield, it was Saturday, February 25, and he was about to cook the last dinner at what he called “the Squirrel.” He shuttered the place immediately after service, in preparation for the sale of the building that had housed the beloved restaurant since it opened in 2008.

Palmieri promised he would resurface, and soon.

He has—as executive chef of the Calandra Group, which owns three bakeries and three restaurants in Essex County.

According to Palmieri, he will be based at Il Vecchio Cafe in Calandra’s Italian Village in Caldwell. It’s an expansive venue, with a variety of spaces and a bakery.

As Palmieri told Table Hopping the day Orange Squirrel closed, “Wherever I go, whatever I do, I will put my personal stamp on it.”

So stay tuned.

—Andrea Clurfeld

New Chef at Mangiare Tu:

Mangiare Tu, an Italian-American restaurant in Bradley Beach, has reopened with chef John Graziano in charge of the kitchen. His mother, Lana, is the owner. 600 Main Street, 732-869-0700

—Andrea Clurfeld

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  1. Anthony Zancocchio

    Hey Andrea,

    My name is Anthony Zancocchio, an owner at Mangiare Tu, great article however you published the wrong information about my establishment. Anyway we can correct this?