Montclair Food and Wine Festival Members Share Their Favorite Cookbooks


Montclair Food and Wine Festival (MFWF) will bring together 20 top NJ chefs for its fun Frost Bites event on January 28 offering an evening of small-bite fare, plenty of bubbly, and live modern rock! While you are being wined and dined by these incredible chefs you will be promoting education and the appreciation of culinary arts in Montclair and the Metropolitan area, MFWF’s mission.

To kick off the countdown to Frost Bites, members of the MFWF Board share their favorite cookbooks with Baristanet:

The Art of Eating

Lisa Davies, the new MFWF Executive Director, graduated from the French Culinary Institute, wrote the “What’s For Dinner” column for Barista Kids, and founded the Salvation Army’s annual Fall Food Classic. Lisa is also one of the joint owners of Montclair Culinary Academy. Davies’s favorite cookbook is “The Art of Eating” by MFK Fisher. Written in the 1950’s the collection of food essays are about Fisher’s culinary advice to World War II housewives plagued by food shortages, her studies at the University of Dijon in France, and her discovery of the power of good food. Every story weaves in three basic human needs: love, food, and security that are so intertwined that you cannot think of one without the other.

A Treasure of Great Recipes
Francesco, his wife Elaine, and his favorite cookbook.

Francesco Palmieri, President and founding MFWF Board Member,  isn’t new to the culinary arts. After winning Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen” in 2013, he went on to be named one of the Top 5 Chefs in Jersey Magazine in 2014. He also appeared on Food Network’s “Rewrapped.” Currently, Palmieri is the owner and executive chef of The Orange Squirrel located in Bloomfield, which features his contemporary American cuisine. Palmieri has many favorite cookbooks but at the present “A Treasure of Great Recipes” by Mary and Vincent Price comes first to his mind. He even has one of his quotes included in the book’s new edition as well as having the pleasure of knowing Vincent Price’s daughter Victoria.  This book shows that Mary and Vincent Price were, as Palmieri calls them, “America’s first real foodies.” Palmieri throws elaborate dinners at his restaurant around Halloween each year using the recipes from the book.

The Good Housekeeping CookbookRosie Saferstein, Board Member and writer of the column“Table Hopping with Rosie,” which offers the scoop about local events, New Jersey chefs, and the openings and closings of restaurants. Being the judge for the “Ultimate Chef of Bergen County” for four years and “Throw Down with Bobby Flay” on the Food Network, has taught her to not only judge great food, but also be able to write about all her food adventures. Saferstein’s favorite cookbook is her oldest book, published in 1963, “The Good Housekeeping Cookbook” edited by Dorothy B Marsh is a basic no frills book that has easy to follow recipes. Saferstein said, “ I especially use the meat section, which has information on buying meat, cooking times, as well as gravy and sauce recipes.”

The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute CuisineMike Carrino, Board Member and owner of Pig and Price Restaurant, is the ultimate meat lover using his farm-to-table techniques to curate his own meat for his restaurant. The graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Carrino was named the “Chopped” winner in 2009 on the Food Network’s hit show. “The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute Cuisine” by Rudolph Chleminski is Carrino’s cookbook pick. The book describes the life and accomplishments of Chef Bernard Loiseau and the dedication, passion and sacrifice it takes in the industry. Ultimately, Chef Loiseau takes his own life due to the stress and anxiety of his career. Carrino says “It is an eye opener, yet a culinary romance tale about a man who loved his passion more than life itself.”

JerusalemNicolle Walker, Treasurer and Event Planner, is the direct liaison for all major events at MFWF. Walker teaches at Hudson Table and in the past, she has taught elementary aged children about cooking and the benefits of nutrition. Walker is also skilled in a variety of ethnic cuisines and has coordinated/catered multiple events. Walker’s favorite cookbook is “Jerusalem” by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. “The recipes are earthy and complex without being overly difficult and the pictures are beautifully inspiring enough to beg me to cook.”

How to Love Wine: A Memoir and ManifestoSharon Sevrens opened Amanti Vino, a wine and craft ber shop on Church Street in Montclair, in 2005. She is a sommelier and Diploma-certified by the prestigious UK-based Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and the Sommelier Society of America. She is also Vice Conseiller Gastronomique of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. Severens’ pick is naturally about wine.  “How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto” by Eric Asimov, which Sevrens’ says is a great choice for all wine lovers regardless of wine knowledge. “The book lacks the pretense of many other wine books and teaches readers how to trust their own palate for their likes and dislikes.”

My Family Table: A Passionate Please for Home CookingRobin Schlager, Montclair’s Second Ward Councillor and Associate Director of the MFEE,  has spent a lot of time over the past few years in New Orleans where she discovered chef/restaurateur/ author, John Besh. After Schlager had dinner in some of his signature restaurants she quickly purchased “My Family Table: A Passionate Please for Home Cooking.” The huge book is filled with great photos, 140 imaginative dishes that are fool proof, and every recipe is custom made for the family/home cook. The pecan baked ham, pepper-jelly BBQ sauce, and the cherry tomato spaghetti sauce are just some of the New Orleans style recipes that Schalger says are a hit. “I can’t wait for the cold weather to come so I can try some of his creamy soups.”

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  1. “Jerusalem: A Cookbook” is one of the best cookbooks I have ever used. Try “Roasted Eggplant with Fried Onion and Chopped Lemon” (p. 33) and try to tell me that God is not good.

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