Experienced, inviting, artistic and eclectic, Executive Chef Scott Giordano, owner of the Poached Pear Bistro in Point Pleasant, has a huge following of sophisticated diners who enjoy his inventive New American cuisine. Chef Scott says he knew from the time he was 5 years old, watching both of his grandmothers cook in his Park Ridge home, that he wanted to be in the kitchen. His commitment to cooking never wavered, and he headed off to the Culinary Institute of America the moment he could. He graduated before he was 21, making him one of their youngest chefs, and he jokes about the experience. “People don’t realize there is a lot of bookwork in culinary school. We also had an on-campus pub, which I was never old enough to visit during my training. Maybe that’s why I graduated so early.”
After graduation, Scott became the sous chef under Chef Hans Egg at the Saddle River Inn in Saddle River. He then spent two years in California before becoming the executive chef at the gourmet Park Steakhouse in Park Ridge. Scott next moved onto to serve a 10-year run at Whispers in Spring Lake, establishing it as a top-ranking elegant dining destination.
In 2014, Scott founded The Poached Pear Bistro. “I wanted to combine superior quality in a creative, approachable style that gives you a family feeling and excites the eyes and taste buds.”
The family feel is present. “My brother Marc runs the front of the house and my 10-year-old daughter, Maggie, is a budding chef too. She loves watching all the chef shows and really enjoys cooking and baking. I’ll be happy to have her join the team if she decides she’s ready.”
What is your favorite way to relax on a day off? Family time! My wife, daughter and I really enjoy Broadway and live theater. We also like music. I’m the classic rock guy, my wife likes pop, and Maggie likes it all. I’m also lucky to have my parents, and I love seeing them as often as possible.
Do you have a favorite ingredient? Well the restaurant is named Poached Pear Bistro so pears! Their firm but creamy texture is great in salads, with meats and in desserts. Also, Jersey sweet corn is hard to beat. I use it so many ways including a tasty corn bisque and a bright corn avocado salsa – put that with some grilled shrimp or chicken and it’s like summer at the shore. Spices too, like a little smoked paprika, go a long way in giving food some extra taste and color. Use a light touch and make sure they’re freshly purchased.
What is your favorite item in your kitchen? My knife kit. Some of these knives have been with me since I started out. You get very used to working with your tools and over time; they become an extension of you. For the home and professionals too, I recommend Made In knives. I bought a set for my parents, and they love them. I love my Vitamix for everything from soups to desserts.
Anything else you want to share? We wanted our restaurant to be an extension of family. I’m proud we have customers and staff who have been with me from the very beginning. I’m also proud we once again made NJ Monthly’s list of Top 30 NJ restaurants, an honor we have earned every year. To all the home cooks, don’t be afraid to experiment. Try your ideas with savories before tackling desserts. Pretty plating can also elevate your food. Remember you eat with your eyes first.
What is your favorite at-home recipe?
Jersey Corn Salsa
- 3 cups fresh Jersey corn, grilled and removed from stalk
- 1-1/2 cups grape tomatoes cut in quarters
- 1 avocado, medium dice
- 1 cup bell pepper mix (red, yellow, green)
- 1 small red onion, diced fine
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 limes, juiced (include zest of 1 lime)
- Smoked sea salt and pepper to taste
Mix it all together in a bowl and serve with grilled chicken and some slices of avocado.