Our first recipe available for a donation online is warm and delicious Ryland Inn Tomato Soup from Executive Chef Craig Polignano.
Inspired by his family’s own kitchen and garden growing up, it seemed natural that Craig Polignano would, from the age of 13, choose to work in an array of local NJ restaurants before making the decision to attend the Culinary Institute of America in pursuit of his career in food service. After completion of his studies, Chef Craig’s relentless enthusiasm landed him a spot in the kitchen of The Ryland Inn of Whitehouse, NJ. There his passion and dedication prompted him to enhance the existing 3-acre organic garden by building a 15-bed specialty herb garden with dozens of varietals.
Chef Craig went on to expand his knowledge base and worked as Sous Chef at Copeland in the Westin Governor Morris in Morristown, NJ, and shortly after was promoted to Chef de Cuisine at The Bernards Inn in Bernardsville, NJ. He then accepted an opportunity with the Michael Mina group at the St. Regis Hotel in Dana Point, California as Executive Chef of the Stonehill Tavern.
Chef Craig has since returned home to NJ and the Ryland Inn which has been brought back to life by Frank and Jeanne Crettella, owners of Landmark Hospitality, which also owns Liberty House Restaurant in Jersey City, NJ and Stone House at Stirling Ridge in Warren, NJ. After spending almost two years as Chef de Cuisine, Chef Craig has recently been promoted to Executive Chef.
Along the way Chef Craig says, "Some of my best memories as a young adult are of spending time at the NJ Shore. My best friend's family had a small boat, and we spent hours going up and down the shore line, fishing and relaxing."
Chef Craig's Ryland Inn Tomato Soup is a perfect tonic to ward off autumn's chill, fragrant with fresh vegetables and quick and easy to assemble. Thank you Chef Craig for contributing this recipe for ongoing NJ Shore Sandy recovery!