What would you do with a basket of pre-cooked chicken feet, poblano peppers, black radishes and fruit-flavored candy? How about blood sausage, frog legs, sea beans and Halloween candy? Those are some of the challenging ingredients Chef Michael DiIonno of Verona’s Avenue Bistro will face in a special Halloween-themed episode of the Food Network’s Chopped, “Trick or Treat, Chicken Feet” tonight (10/18) at 10 p.m.(spoiler alert in comments)
DiIonno, who has gotten noticed for Avenue Bistro, is a veteran of the Essex/Morris food scene, having opened the Huddle Inn, near the Essex airport in 1981, followed by 3 Central in Madison and Lulu’s in Livingston. Two years ago, he branched out to open the larger Avenue Bistro, (reviewed by My Verona NJ) with a liquor license and a bistro-inspired menu emphasizing sophisticated comfort foods.
DiIonno isn’t the only Baristaville chef to take on the nail-biting challenge that is Chopped. Ryan DePersio of Montclair’s Fascino and Bloomfield’s Bar Cara, appeared on the show, but was eliminated. Michael Carrino, formerly of Montclair’s Restaurant Passionne, emerged victorious.
What’s your favorite Food Network smackdown? Chopped, Iron Chef?
Avenue Bistro, 558 Bloomfield Ave. (bet. Gould St. & Park Pl.) Verona, 973-239-7444