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The Chefs Of Avalon & Stone Harbor

Saturday, June 5, 2021   /   by Teresa Dipeso

The Chefs Of Avalon & Stone Harbor

Chef Michael Greenstein

The Reeds at Shelter Haven
9601 Third Avenue, Stone Harbor
609-368-0100   
reedsatshelterhaven.com

1.  When did you first know you wanted to become a chef?

I became a chef the second I learned that I was able to capitalize on doing something that I truly loved.

2.  If you could go on a cooking show, which one would it be and why?

I have actually had the pleasure of being on several cooking shows and features. If I could be on any one, it would be “The Galloping Gourmet.” Graham Kerr was very entertaining, and I was able to see a world of cooking that I had not experienced as a kid.

Lamb Osso Bucco with Gremolata and Asparagus Risotto

3.  Who or what inspires you when creating a new dish?

I believe the dish should always reflect the style of the restaurant, and the inspiration will match the style. I’m also a firm believer that unique dishes should have a way of transporting you without having to leave the dinner table.

4.  If you could prepare a meal for anyone, who would it be and why?

My mother, who passed away 15 years ago. She was an excellent cook and always dreamed of going to culinary school. She loved that I had become a chef.

5.  How do you relax on your day off?

At home or out eating steamed crabs. I’m from Baltimore, so that will always be a favorite pastime!

6.  What is one thing (tool, spice or ingredient) that you could not live without?

The knife. From the moment a caveman sharpened a rock to cut some meat, it has been indispensable. Chefs cherish their knives; they’re a reflection of who they are. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional chef or novice in the kitchen, a proper chef’s knife is essential.

7.   What is your favorite dish to make using Jersey fresh produce local to the area?

Fresh tomato salads in the middle of summer. Jersey tomatoes are famous for a reason!


Chef Carl Messick

The Shore Club
1170 Golf Club Road, Cape May Court House
609-465-7824   
myshoreclub.com

1.  When did you first know you wanted to become a chef?
I first knew I wanted to become a chef around the seventh grade, I guess. My brother was in culinary school and I always looked up to him.  We would watch the old-school cooking shows on Discovery, “World Class Cuisine” and “Great Chefs.”

Shrimp House Fusilli Pasta

2.  Who or what inspires you when creating a new dish?

Seasonality. At PSI [Peter Shields Inn, which joined The Shore Club to open the new Good Lies Bar & Restaurant], the season drives our menus. We will adapt that same philosophy here at Good Lies. We will launch with a smaller menu and as we evolve, we will start to showcase entrees with seasonality driving them.  

3.  If you could prepare a meal for anyone, who would it be and why?

This one is very easy for me, my dad. I never had the chance to cook for him as he passed when I was 15 years old.

4.  How do you relax on your day off?

Haha, what’s a day off? I enjoy fishing, hunting, golfing. 

5.  What are you most proud of when talking about your culinary career?

I’m most proud of what we have accomplished at PSI since I was brought in. We elevated PSI to one of the best restaurants in our area. We are always evolving and trying to get better one day at a time. We look forward to bringing that “recipe” to the club this year. 

6.  What is one thing (tool, spice or ingredient) that you could not live without?

Salt and pepper – need seasoning. You can cook on or with anything; without proper seasoning, as simple as salt may sound, you won’t get far.

7.  Where do you find yourself most when you are not in the kitchen?

Whenever possible, I enjoy being home. Family is everything. Work is work but end of the day, you want to be able to enjoy your family time – if that means having a BBQ, going to a ballgame, or hopping on the boat and going fishing. Can’t replace home time.


Chef Cyree Howard 

Avalon Links Restaurant at Avalon Golf Club
1510 Route 9 North, Cape May Court House
609-465-GOLF   
avalongolfclub.net

1.  If you could go on a cooking show, which one would it be and why?

“Hell’s Kitchen,” because I am better under pressure.

2.  If you could prepare a meal for anyone, who would it be and why?

My grandpop, because he passed away when I was young, and I would love his approval.

Herb Crusted Grouper

3.  How do you relax on your day off?

I relax by spending time with my family and friends, while enjoying good music and food.

4.  What are you most proud of when talking about your culinary career?

I am most proud of the hard work and dedication I put forth to get to where I am today.

5.  What is one thing that you could not live without?

I could not live without spices, because I like flavorful food.

6.  What celebrity chef would you like to meet?

Chef Marcus Samuelsson, because I like his story about how he came up.

7.  What is your favorite dish to make using Jersey fresh produce local to the area?

The grouper topped with fresh Jersey tomatoes, basil, and spinach.


Chef Michael Carlson 

the Bellevue Tavern
7-9 S. Main Street, Cape May Court House
609-463-1738   
bellevuetavern.com

1.  If you could go on a cooking show, which one would it be and why?

“Chopped.” I like the idea of creating something on the fly.

2.  Who or what inspires you when creating a new dish?   

The ingredients, the colors, the smells. It’s fun to create food that looks good.

Filet with Grilled Asparagus

3.  If you could prepare a meal for anyone, who would it be and why?    

I don’t know, probably George Carlin, so we could have a few good laughs over dinner and drinks.

4.  What are you most proud of when talking about your culinary career?

Longevity. Most don’t stick around for over 30 years.

5.  What is one thing (tool, spice or ingredient) that you could not live without?

Garlic. You can use it with basically everything. 

6.  What celebrity chef would you like to meet?   

Lucas Manteca. I heard he is a really down-to-earth guy, and I love the moqueca. 

7.   What is your favorite dish to make using Jersey fresh produce local to the area?

Something with local scallops, Jersey tomatoes and zucchini. Or a corn salsa. We are lucky to live in such a food-rich area!


Chef Andrew Cini 

The Diving Horse
2109 Dune Drive, Avalon
609-368-5000   
thedivinghorseavalon.com

1.  If you could go on a cooking show, which one would it be and why?

I don’t watch the competition-based shows often, but anytime I watch a program I can learn from I am intrigued. I would love to just be in the background of an Alton Brown or “America’s Test Kitchen” episode. 

Swordfish with basil tahina and white bean and asparagus salad

2.  Who or what inspires you when creating a new dish?

I pull inspiration from so many different areas. Sometimes the focus is a technique. Other times it’s mimicking a regionally or culturally significant dish. Sometimes it’s highlighting a single ingredient, and sometimes it’s about playing to nostalgia. 

3.  If you could prepare a meal for anyone, who would it be and why?

It would be a table of four. My parents, my father’s father, and my late uncle. These are my four biggest influencers, both culinarily and in life. 

4.  How do you relax on your day off?

I try to unplug and tune out. Spending time with family, especially my sons, and friends is key for healthy work/life balance.

5.  What are you most proud of when talking about your culinary career?

The last few years of my career, even having been in a few different kitchens, have been extremely fulfilling. The group of chefs I have steadily worked with and the food produced from places like Res Ipsa, Mezze, and Domaine Hudson have been so rewarding. I’m looking forward to adding The Diving Horse to that list and continuing to grow and build relationships with both the customers and the crew.

6.  What celebrity chef would you like to meet?

Dead or alive? I’m always interested in chefs that keep philanthropy at the forefront. I think Tony [Bourdain] would have been on the top of my list before he passed. Jose Andres and his work with World Central Kitchen is someone to aspire to. 

7.   What is your favorite dish to make using Jersey fresh produce local to the area?

In the height of summer, a Spanish pisto Manchego is my favorite. Similar to ratatouille, it highlights the best produce of the season: tomatoes, squash, zucchini, and peppers. I finish it with a touch of sherry vinegar and eat it on grilled bread for summer lunches.


Chef Rob Terwilliger 

Avalon Seafood
2909 Ocean Drive, Avalon
609-967-7555 
 avalonseafood.com

1.  When did you first know you wanted to become a chef?

At age 12, I would peek in kitchen doors. The sound of music, a good party and a mix of warfare. I was hooked. 

2.  Who or what inspires you when creating a new dish?

Fellow chefs, old and new. I was once told there are no new dishes, just your interpretation. 

3.  If you could prepare a meal for anyone, who would it be and why?
My mom, I miss her dearly.

Broiled Stuffed South African Lobster Tails

4.  What are you most proud of when talking about your culinary career?

I have cooked for people through every event in their lives, birthdays, weddings to funerals. I am proud that I could give comfort. 

5.  What is one thing (tool, spice or ingredient) that you could not live without?

Tongs. They are useful for anything. Stirring, bottle opener, and if you’re vertically challenged such as myself … an extra foot of reach.

6.  Where do you find yourself most when you are not in the kitchen?

In the forest or a rockpile on the water.

7.  What is your favorite dish to make using Jersey fresh produce local to the area?

Pan-seared scallops over roasted Jersey corn with a tomato basil salad. 


Chef Ian Borgo

Oceanside Seafood
2489 Dune Drive, Avalon
609-368-2114   
oceansideseafoodavalon.com

1.  If you could go on a cooking show, which one would it be?

I would probably have to go with the original Japanese “Iron Chef.” I always would watch that as a kid and liked the creativity with limited ingredients.

2.  Who or what inspired you when creating a new dish?

Definitely our dishwasher, Joe. I make him dinner most nights and he pretty much has a secret menu here of things I experiment with.

Shrimp Scampi

3.  If you could prepare a meal for anyone, who would it be and why?

I would cook another meal for my dad. He passed away last year and was always supportive of what I do. He would be in here at least once a week for lunch in the summer. 

4.  What are you most proud of when talking about your culinary career?

Working my way up from dishwasher in high school and working pretty much every job in the restaurant before chef. It really helps to put the entire operation in perspective.

5.  What is one thing (tool, spice, ingredient) that you could not live without?

It would be a tie between garlic and onions. Almost everything I end up eating has one or both of those in it.

6.  What celebrity chef would you like to meet?

I really don’t have any favorite celebrity chefs, but I would like to meet Jeong Kwan. She is a Buddhist nun who prepares some of the most amazing food I’ve ever seen at her monastery in South Korea. 

7.  What is your favorite dish to make using Jersey fresh produce local to the area?

I’d go with our shrimp scampi. I’m a sucker for local basil and our famous Jersey tomatoes. 


Chef Bill Selgrath

Sylvester’s Fish Market & Restaurant
503 21st Street, Avalon
609-967-7553   
sylvesters-avalon.com

1.  If you could go on a cooking show, which one would it be and why?

“Guy’s Grocery Games,” may be fun to wing it on preparing a dish with little or no time.

2.  Who or what inspires you when creating a new dish?

A desire to offer something fun and new to the customer.

3.  If you could prepare a meal for anyone, who would it be and why?

My grandmom, as she did not have a chance to come to Sylvester’s but she was one heck of a cook.

4.  How do you relax on your day off?

Beach in season and some casual dining, with family and maybe a couple close friends.

5.  What are you most proud of when talking about your culinary career?

Working hard to provide quality seafood and overall a high-quality dining experience to our customers, they deserve it.

6.  What celebrity chef would you like to meet?

Bobby Flay.

7.  What is your favorite dish to make using Jersey fresh produce local to the area?

Probably New Jersey asparagus early and corn later in summer. 


Chef Sidney B. Gary 

Bobby Dee’s Rock N Chair
2409 Dune Drive, Avalon
609-967-3300   
rocknchair.net

1.  When did you first know you wanted to become a chef?

At an early age, when I used to see my grandmother and mother entertain their friends with joy and happiness, serving good food of course. 

2.  If you could go on a cooking show, which one would it be and why?

Rachael Ray, love her home style way of cooking! As if I was in the kitchen myself. 

Asparagus and Brie in puff pastry with honey glaze.

3.  Who or what inspires you when creating a new dish?

My eyes and soul and that creative genius inside me.

4.  How do you relax on your day off?

I love to do art at the beach; give me a canvas or beach and I am good. 

5.  What are you most proud of when talking about your culinary career?

To have the opportunity to serve many people and put a smile on their faces. 

6.  Where do you find yourself most when you are not in the kitchen?

In front of an art canvas.

7.  What is your favorite dish to make using Jersey fresh produce local to the area?

Jersey tomatoes – fresh Jersey tomatoes mozzarella salad with balsamic drizzle. 


Chef Lucas Manteca 

Quahog’s Seafood Shack
206 97th Street, Stone Harbor
609-368-6300   
quahogsshack.com

1. When did you first know you wanted to become a chef?

When I realized I was good at it, can make good money and travel.

2. If you could go on a cooking show, which one would it be and why?

I think cooking competitions are super fun and great exposure for our restaurants. I would be on any show. 

Avocado Toast with Smart Seasoning

3. If you could prepare a meal for anyone, who would it be and why?

Well, for fun and pleasure, my friends and family, because I love them. Or I would cook for anyone that would pay for our services to cook for them.

4. How do you relax on your day off?

Surf, beach, BBQing.

5. What are you most proud of when talking about your culinary career?

Our success in our group. How we started and where we are right now. Proud of our Bread and Butter Family. 

6. Where do you find yourself most when you are not in the kitchen?

With my crew, where I am needed.

7. What is your favorite dish to make using Jersey fresh produce local to the area?

Jersey tomato grilled cheese sandwiches.

Chef Jim Kurtz 

Windrift Hotel Resort
105 80th Street, Avalon
609-368-5175   
windrifthotel.com

1.  Who or what inspires you when creating a new dish?

Anymore, the vegetables or starches ... we all know the proteins. How to accent them has been my thing.

2.  If you could prepare a meal for anyone, who would it be and why?

My dad. I miss him. He taught me restaurant work never ends.

3.  How do you relax on your day off?

With the kids, BBQ then end day on the beach with ice cream.

Chilean Sea Bass on a bed of parmesan risotto with roasted asparagus

4.  What are you most proud of when talking about your culinary career?

The number of people I have had fed, safely, with quality food. Always worked in high-volume places. It’s the shore, after all. 

5.  What celebrity chef would you like to meet?

Daniel Humm.

6.  Where do you find yourself most when you are not in the kitchen?

Home ... in the kitchen.

7.  What is your favorite dish to make using Jersey fresh produce local to the area?

Best fish available with Jersey tomato and cucumber salad like a ceviche.


Chef Evan Schwartz

Stone Harbor Golf Club
905 U.S. 9, Cape May Court House
609-465-9270   
stoneharborgolf.com

1. When did you first know you wanted to become a chef?

I don’t remember exactly, but definitely by the time I was a teenager I knew I loved to cook.

2. Who or what inspires you when creating a new dish?

Inspiration for me comes from changing seasons, holidays, traditions and trends.

Stone Harbor Golf Club Lobster Roll

3. How do you relax on your day off?

GOLF! It’s great to have two of my favorite things in one place at SHGC.

4. What are you most proud of when talking about your culinary career?

I’m proud of the work I’ve put in to get me where I am now. I’m also really proud of the amazing team I’m lucky enough to have around me.

5. What is one thing (tool, spice, or ingredient) that you could not live without?

So many seasonings and spices come to mind, but what’s cooking if you don’t add salt?

6. What celebrity chef would you like to meet?

Not just meet but would love to train with Michael Solomonov of Zahav restaurant in Philly. My wife and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary there. Solomonov and his staff do an amazing job.

7. Where do you find yourself most when you are not in the kitchen?

My wife and I just added baby No. 3, so I’m usually at home spending time with my family.


Chef Gigi Vlahova 

The Watering Hull
261 96th Street, Stone Harbor
609-830-3106   
thewateringhull.com

1.  When did you first know you wanted to become a chef?

I chose to become a chef when I realized the happiness and joy my food brought to people.

2.  Who or what inspires you when creating a new dish?

Traveling throughout the country and experiencing new cultures and food gives me motivation to implement those experiences in my dishes.

House Fried Wonton Chips, Sushi Grade Marinated Tuna, Scallions, Cucumbers, Spicy Mayo, Unami Toppers

3.  If you could prepare a meal for anyone, who would it be and why?

I love to cook for my friends and family, it gives me a huge sense of pride.

4.  What are you most proud of when talking about your culinary career?

I’m super proud of the team we built here at The Watering Hull, and when our customers share with other people the exceptional experiences they have had with us.

5.  What is one thing (tool, spice or ingredient) that you could not live without?

PATIENCE!!!!!

6.  Where do you find yourself most when you are not in the kitchen?

Spending time with my friends and loved ones.

7.   What is your favorite dish to make using Jersey fresh produce local to the area?

Love our Hummus Plate, using any local produce my general manager brings from his organic garden.

Teresa M DiPeso & The DiPeso Group Jersey Shore Real Estate Experts
Teresa M. DiPeso
5901 New Jersey Ave
Wildwood Crest, NJ 08260
609-780-1434

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The data relating to real estate for sale on this web site comes in part from the Broker Reciprocity program of the South Jersey Shore Regional MLS. Real estate listings held by brokerage are marked with the Broker Reciprocity logo or the Broker Reciprocity thumbnail logo (a little black house) and detailed information about them includes the name of the listing brokers.
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