The 4-month-old Italian restaurant in Westwood serves Italian food, authentic Italian food.
Robbie Felice, chef-owner of acclaimed Italian restaurants Viaggio in Wayne and Osteria Crescendo in Westwood, is preparing to compete in a national pasta competition against seven other chefs. If he wins, he will go on to compete for the title of World Pasta Champion in October.
The first round of the competition will be held at the prestigious Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival on April 16.
In that round, Felice hopes to show New York — and the nation — that New Jersey has got real culinary chops too.
“I want to show New York people,” Felice said with his usual enthusiasm. “‘Hey, some Jersey guy just won this,'” he imagined what the scuttlebutt might be should he win.
If he nabs the title of USA Master of Pasta at Pebble Beach, Felice will go on to compete at the 9th annual Barilla Pasta World Championship this coming fall in Italy. He will then face 19 other chefs from around the world.
His cooking assistant will be AJ Capella, executive chef of Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen in Morristown. He and Capella are good friends and attended high school together.
“I’m so excited,” Felice said. “I’m going to California and taking my best friend cooking with me.”
Felice said he has an idea as to what he’s going to cook and has been practicing. He said that starting in April, he’s going to sell it at the bar in Osteria Crescendo as a special. “I want to get feedback,” he said, “see what people think.”
How did he get chosen to compete?
Barilla, the world’s largest pasta producer, sent scouts, he said, and one asked Felice if he’d like to compete. He wasn’t sure at first, he admitted. Felice makes his own pasta and does not use commercial brands. But the opportunity was too exciting to pass up.
“I’m going to be the hometown boy representing New Jersey,” he said.
And perhaps the New Jersey boy representing America.
Esther Davidowitz is the food editor for NorthJersey.com. For more on where to dine and drink, please subscribe today and sign up for our North Jersey Eats newsletter.
Email: [email protected] Twitter: @estherdavido
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