Local Chef's Share Their Secrets With Patch: Jerry Rotunno, Food in Summit

From they like to cook to their own personal favorites, we go inside the kitchen of these talented culinary artists.

(Editors Note) In a series of articles, Patch will track down some of the finest chefs in our area to get their take on what they like to prepare, where they eat and what they cook for themselves when they have time off (which is rare in this 24/7 business) Today, we feature Jerry Rotunno, Managing Partner and Chef at Food in Summit.)

Jerry Rotunno, Managing Partner and Chef, Food in Summit, NJ

Rotunno said he launched Food in Summit in September of 2009, with the intention of offering the kinds of food his aunt used to prepare for him.

While he attended school for restaurant management, he said he learned most of what he knows about cooking from his grandmother, aunt, and neighbors.

“Our burgers are top sellers right off the bat. A burger never goes out of style,” said Rotunno.

But there’s nothing average about Food’s burgers, according to Rotunno, who said they are made from a custom blend of meat prepared by Pat LeFrieda and the bread is a great brioche bun made by Balthazhar’s in New York City.

Food offers specialty burgers like the Benedict Burger made with an egg on top and hollandaise sauce.

“It may sound like the oddest burger, but people love it,” said Rotunno.

For Rotunno, if he were to describe his perfect day it would include a very long brunch.

“I’m in love with the kinds of foods enjoyed at brunch – pancakes, French toast, bacon, and Eggs Benedict.

He said, one of his favorite restaurants for brunch is Public in New York City. Another favorite restaurant is the Italian Pantry in Cranford.

“It’s not the ‘oh my God’ atmosphere that you get in some restaurants, but the chef there makes whatever he wants on that day and you couldn’t get fresher, better food,” said Rotunno.

He said, another favorite, though 3000 miles away, is Bouchon in Napa, California.

At Food, the most requested dish is Lobster Macaroni and Cheese.

“We like to take favorite comfort food and put a spin on it,” said Rotunno.

He said, “Our Lobster Macaroni is by far our customer’s favorite dish made with Orso pasta instead of elbow and a combination of White Cheddar, Fontina and Greyere cheese, topped with Truffle oil.”

“We send one to every table,” said Rotunno.

Rotunno said he takes great pleasure in seeing that his comfort food is enjoyed by people of all ages and sensibilities.

“We have everyone from three-year-olds to senior citizens enjoying our food. I love when I see a business guy with his tie tossed over his shoulder digging into one of our grilled cheese or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.”


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