The Tasting: NJ’s Best Food for a Great Cause

by Gabrielle Capaldo
evas village dinner event

Enjoy fare by some of New Jersey’s best chefs, expansive wine pairings, and a sunset view of the Hudson River and New York City skyline at The Tasting this fall.

About The Tasting

The Tasting is an annual fundraiser hosted by Battello in Jersey City for Eva’s Village. The event consists of 20 well-renowned chefs, each with their own tasting station, preparing mouthwatering meals coupled with wine, beer, cocktail and mocktail pairings. Attendees will have the freedom to peruse the tasting stations at their leisure throughout the night. Taking place Sept. 12 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Battello on the Hudson River Waterfront, The Tasting is set to be one of New Jersey’s premier events.

Jersey City Event

Photo courtesy of Eva’s Village

In addition to showcasing top-tier cuisine, the event is forwarding all proceeds to Eva’s Village— a charity based out of Paterson, NJ, dedicated to providing independence and stability to those suffering from homelessness, addiction, mental illness and other obstacles. The organization serves over 500,000 meals annually and offers free services to those in need, including education, childcare, healthcare and more.

“I love being able to help out Eva’s and I love what Eva’s does for the community,” Robbie Felice, chair of the event and owner/chef of several critically acclaimed New Jersey restaurants said. “By people coming to this event, they are not only helping out Eva’s, but they get to attend a really cool event with some of the top chefs of New Jersey preparing the best food.”

Who Will be There

With 20 chefs in attendance, guests will be wined and dined beyond belief. But, perhaps the most exciting aspect of the evening, apart from the food, is the presence of celebrity chef Angelo Sosa. 

Chef Sosa is a three-time Top Chef All-Star, cookbook author and TV personality. In addition to Bravo’s “Top Chef,” Sosa has starred in HBO Max’s “Selena + Chef.” After founding two restaurants, Anejo in New York City and Tequila in Encinitas, California, Chef Sosa settled into the role of team leader at Tia Carmen, JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa’s luxury eatery.

Sosa will be present to socialize and greet guests as they enter Battello to enjoy the delicacies of the other chefs. In fact, some of the most up-and-coming chefs in the state will be in attendance cooking their famed specials.  

Chef Ryan DePersio

Ryan DePersio is one of the chef chairs for The Tasting as well as the Executive Chef/Owner of Fascino in Montclair. Since his debut in New Jersey nearly 20 years ago, DePersio has made an impressive splash on the New Jersey dining scene. He is a decorated chef with recognitions and nominations as an “Outstanding Chef” from the Inaugural Garden State Culinary Art Awards and “Best Mid Atlantic Chef” by the James Beard Foundation.

New York Times hailed him as an “excellent chef” who was “born to run a restaurant.” He worked at NYC’s famed Bouley Bakery and Judson Grill, where he was relocated to Paris to further his culinary gift. Upon returning to the US, he worked under the wing of master chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten— a four-starred chef and owner. Before he knew it, he was called back to Europe to work at the two-starred Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence, Italy.

His notoriety has earned him appearances on NBC’s Today Show, the Food Network and more. To say New Jersey is graced by his presence is an understatement as he provides a breath of fresh, cultured air to the food landscape. DePersio often refers to his food as “Italian without borders.”

Chef Robbie Felice

In addition to being one of the chairs of this event, Felice is the chef and restaurateur of critically acclaimed Viaggio, Osteria Crescendo and pastaRAMEN. With his father owning multiple restaurants, it’s believed that Felice could cook before he could walk. He put in grueling hours of work into the highly lauded Babbo in New York City and B&B Ristorante in Las Vegas. Climbing the ladder to sous chef, Felice began running the Salumi Program at many of B&B’s locations.

He left America to travel the world and work in Michelin-Starred restaurants across the globe, including Sergio Herman’s 2-Michelin-Star Pure C in The Netherlands and 2-Michelin-Star The Jane in Belgium. At the prodigious age of 26, he opened his first restaurant, Viaggio, in Wayne, New Jersey. Using his world-collected culinary skills, he quickly became a New Jersey legend, earning spots in NJ Monthly’s “Talent on the Rise,” The Record’s “17 People to Watch in 2017,” and three-and-a-half star reviews from The Record and The Star-Ledger.

Along with his social media presence, Felice’s acclaim has only grown, and New Jersey is beyond lucky to have him. 

Other Attendees 

Other notable chefs that have made New Jersey Digest’s list of editor’s picks include Ehren Ryan of Common Lot, Leia Gaccione at South + Pine American Eatery and Olivier Muller, executive chef/partner of Faubourg. It’s safe to say this event is a collection of some of the greatest chefs in New Jersey.

Ticket Information

As mentioned, all proceeds go towards Eva’s Village and benefit those suffering from homelessness, addiction and other obstacles that inhibit them from achieving stability and independence. General Admission, which includes an entry to the tasting tables and drinks, is $350 per person.

If you decide to bring your entire family or group of friends, there are party packages that include raffle tickets as well. VIP reception tickets, which include an early entry for a meet-and-greet photo with Angelo Sosa atop of general admission perks, are $450 per person. Tickets can be bought here. 

“Food always brings people together,” Felice commented, “Food makes the world go round, so for this event to be able to bring people together to help Eva’s Village- to cook for a lot of different people­­­­-­ I think that’s what makes this super special.”

Will you be going to this event? Leave your comments below!

About the Author/s

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Gabrielle is an Editorial Assistant Intern at The Digest. After graduating from Grove City College with a degree in Communications, she worked in corporate sales for a year before giving in to her long-lost passion for writing. Known as the “investigative journalist” at her alma mater’s newspaper, Gabrielle loves uncovering the facts and weaving them into a compelling story. Having lived in New Jersey her whole life, this news journalist turned editorial writer aims to put the hidden gems of The Garden State on the map. If you ever can't find her, odds are she's gone ghost protocol at her favorite Jersey beach.

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