A Collaboration Dinner for a Cause at Fascino in Montclair

by Peter Candia
jar of hope

Chef Ryan DePersio of Fascino in Montclair and Chef John Karangis of world-renowned Shake Shack teamed up last month to show off their culinary chops, and to shine a light on a great cause. The two-chef team banded together for a five-course meal at DePersio’s Fascino in Montclair to raise money and awareness for Jar of Hope — a non-profit organization battling against Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy. 

Jar of Hope was founded by James Raffone in 2013 when his then four-year-old son, Jamesy, was diagnosed with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy (DMD)—a rapidly progressive neuromuscular disease that causes muscles to deteriorate in children starting as early as the age of four. DMD is the most frequently occurring neuromuscular disease, and one of the most severe. It strips children of their ability to play with friends, walk with ease, and even to breathe without issue. The fatal genetic disease remains without a cure, but not without hope. Jar of Hope was started with a mission in mind; to raise awareness surrounding DMD, and to eventually defeat it. 

Every year, Jar of Hope participates in the NYC Marathon on behalf of Jamesy, and all of the children and families suffering from DMD. This year, Karangis decided to run alongside his good friend Raffone in support of the cause. When DePersio heard about it, he told his longtime running partner Karangis that he wanted to join. With their voice and influence in both NJ and NYC, they believed the best way to raise awareness for their marathon cause was by bridging the gap of the Hudson River and teaming up for a dinner at DePersio’s first restaurant; Fascino in Montclair, NJ. 

The event began with words from Raffone, DePersio, and Karangis explaining what this was for, and exactly how much it meant to them. Then, the five-course dinner commenced.

Course One

jar of hope

Tuna Crostini with apple butter, sesame and serrano chili. Photo courtesy of Arielle Figueredo.

Course Two

jar of hope

Market Vegetable Terrine with straciatella and black truffle.Photo courtesy of Arielle Figueredo.

Course Three

fascino in montclair

Okinawa Sweet Potato Agnolotti. Photo courtesy of Arielle Figueredo.

Course Four

chef ryan depersio

Balsamic Glazed Beef Short Rib with market vegetables.Photo courtesy of Arielle Figueredo.

Course Five

jar of hope

Local Apple Crostata. Photo courtesy of Arielle Figueredo.

As always when DePersio and Karangis are behind the stove, the meal was exceptional. Understandably though, the food took second place to the cause which inspired the event. Events like this are a great reminder of how unifying food and dining can be. The dinner table has always been one of the great places to start a conversation, and this event proved it by educating people of a cause through the power of an immaculate dinner. 

Jar of Hope is accepting donations to their organization here. You can support DePersio’s Marathon efforts here, and Karangis’ here. Awareness and reach are the most effective ways we can tackle this fatal pediatric disease, and Jar of Hope, along with their 30-person NYC Marathon team, are successfully educating more people each year about their message.

About the Author/s

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Peter Candia is the Food + Drink Editor at New Jersey Digest. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Peter found a passion for writing midway through school and never looked back. He is a former line cook, server and bartender at top-rated restaurants in the tri-state area. In addition to food, Peter enjoys politics, music, sports and anything New Jersey.

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