Guest Chef Dinner at Giovanna’s Cafe of Ramsey, New Jersey

Sunday Gravy

Italian-American Sunday Gravy 

There is something about an Italian-American food that’s very comforting.  My home State of New Jersey overflows with Italian-American food and restaurants.  The Italian-American restaurants, that can stir an emotion where nearly everything tastes like grandma’s gravy, mom’s meatballs and Uncle Joe’s cheesecake, are well worth seeking out. Why? Because, when cooked well and with a little tender loving care and pride, Italian-American Cuisine is simply fabulous!  So, in a State where Italian-American food is part of the dining fabric of nearly every community, it’s very refreshing when you come across one that stands out. Giovanna’s Cafe in Ramsey, NJ is such a place.

Giovanna Germinario

Giovanna Germinario

Giovanna Germinario, the owner of Giovanna’s Cafe, and her team have created a very cozy and absolutely delicious neighborhood spot.  Giovanna grew up in the pizzeria business of Northern New Jersey. She was the culinary coordinator for Bloomingdale’s at the Shops at Riverside, and is a very passionate foodie with a great love for well-prepared Italian-American food and Italian culture.

Giovanna and I met nearly 10 years ago. We recently reconnected at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City.  A few weeks ago, I took a ride out to Giovanna’s Cafe to have lunch (needless to say it was fantastic) and we had lots of laughs reconnecting.  

Chef Franco Lania and Giovanna Germinario

Chef Franco Lania and Giovanna Germinario

My first course was freshly roasted red and yellow peppers, halved and lightly sprinkled with seasoned bread crumbs and a drizzle of olive oil; they’re just like the ones my mother makes. Then, I had the sausage and pepper sandwich. It was excellent! It reminded me of my Dad, who loved a good sausage and peppers; he definitely would’ve enjoyed this one!  Giovanna’s tomato sauce was so delicious that I had to catch myself from licking the plate clean. ( And I’m a guy who makes a very good tomato sauce.)

It’s no secret that food evokes many memories for people, transporting them back to their childhood, family gatherings, school days, etc. People who grew up eating Italian-American food (like me) should be instantly transported back to food memories of mom, grandma or whoever else cooked in your family.  Maybe you’ll recall the great local places you frequented for pizza, chicken Parmesan, sausage and peppers, and the best cannoli. 

Giovanna's Cafe of Ramsey, New Jersey

Giovanna’s Cafe of Ramsey, New Jersey

Giovanna’s has this formula down pat, making it one perfect Italian-American cafe.  At Giovanna’s, the food definitely comes first, and your precious food memories are being preserved.  Now, that’s Italian!

Chef Franco Lania and Giovanna Germinario

Chef Franco Lania and Giovanna Germinario

And, now we have a surprise for you.  I’ll be doing a “pop-up” cooking demonstration and dinner party at Giovanna’s Cafe on April 1st, 2017.  No, this is not an April fools joke. Haha!  This is very real and it will be a fun and educational time for all those interested in learning how to cook Marinated Rack of Lamb, Asparagus Risotto, and Sauteed Escarole in garlic and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. 

Guest chef event at Giovanna's Cafe of Ramsey, New Jersey

Guest chef event at Giovanna’s Cafe of Ramsey, New Jersey

Since this is a private event, seating will be limited.  So, if you’re interested please call Giovanna’s Cafe (201-825-5835) as soon as possible to reserve a seat. Dinner starts at 7:00pm. Giovanna and I hope to see you there. Ciao for now! 

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