Remembering A Special Chef

Fifth annual gala honoring Joe Romanowski to be held March 19.

The legendary and beloved chef Joseph Romanowski, who mentored and worked with some of the top stars in New Jersey restaurant kitchens, will be remembered and honored during an annual fund-raising gala in his name, on Monday, March 19 at the Navesink Country Club, 50 Luffburrow Lane (off Navesink River Road) in Middletown.

Romanowski, who with his wife, Maggie Lubcke, owned and operated Joe and Maggie’s Bistro on Broadway in Long Branch, and the Bay Avenue Trattoria in Highlands, passed away in August 2013. Shortly after his death, his friends, family and co-workers  founded JoCEF—the Joe Romanowski Culinary Education Foundation—to continue his work educating aspiring chefs. In March 2014, the first JoCEF gala was held to raise scholarship funds for students at the Culinary Education Center, a collaboration between Brookdale Community College and the Monmouth County Vocational School District. Since JoCEF was formed, more than $100,000 in scholarships have been awarded in Romanowski’s name.

This year’s “Recipe for Success” gala, which will begin at 6:30 pm, and will feature samples from chefs, as well wines beer and spirit tastings. The emcee for the evening will be Big Joe Henry of NJ 101.5,

In honor of the fifth anniversary of JoCEF, chefs who worked with Romanowski at his restaurants will come together to craft dishes that reflect their cooking experiences with their chef-mentor. Students from the Culinary Education Center will assist the chefs at their stations.

Participants include: 2nd Floor Restaurant, B2 Bistro & Bar, Blu Grotto, Cafe Mumford’s, Danny’s Steakhouse, d’jeet?, Drew’s Bayshore Bistro, Lusty Lobster, Piccola Italia, Porcini, Raven & the Peach, Salt Creek Grille, Semolina Catering, Sickles Market, The Vintage Cake, Trama’s Trattoria, Tuzzio’s, Val’s Tavern, Ye Olde Pie Shoppe, Astral Tequila, Constellation Brands, Folio Fine Wine Partners, J Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Opici Wine Group, Shore Point Distributors, Stateside Vodka.
For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit


Going fishing?

Highlights of the 2017 Largemouth Bass Sampling Activities program in Central and South New Jersey waters will be presented at the South Jersey Fisheries Forum, starting at 10 am Saturday, February 24 at Batsto Village Visitor’s Center in Wharton State Forest, 31 Batsto Road in Hammonton. For information, visit

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