South Jersey Chefs & Their Favorite Comfort Foods

During quarantine I was all about pasta. My personal favorite right now is Spaghetti Aglio e Olio – a traditional dish from Naples with garlic, olive oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano and red chili flakes (if you’re feeling spicy).
Thomas Vaccaro
Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa

When my wife and I have some free time, we immediately think of slow cooking. You can use any type of meat. Put it in the oven at a low temperature and at the end of the day you will have a hearty, mouthwatering dinner waiting for you.
John Gonzalez
Cathedral Kitchen

I really enjoy shrimp and sausage gumbo, and jalapeño and bacon alfredo. I also have a blast making multiple chilis – from chicken to sweet potato to short rib and sweet beans.
Aaron McCargo, Jr.
“Next Food Network Star” Winner

Short ribs, for sure. This fall-off-the-bone goodness pairs perfectly with some comfortable sweats and a glass of red wine.
Kevin Cligget
The ChopHouse

We made homemade yeast donuts, our own pasta, different profiteroles, and we even made our own ground meat for burgers. Food is love in our house, and we love cooking together.
Katie Cunningham
K&A Bagel

I love an authentic pumpkin smoothie or an acai bowl with almond butter and cacao.
Christine Patton
The Juice Girl

Homemade fried rice. What a great way to use leftover ingredients.
Jessica O’Donnell
The Pop Shop

The most comforting food I made during quarantine was a chewy chocolate chip cookie bar topped with dulce de leche and a layer of chocolate ganache. So chewy, sweet, decadent and perfect with a steaming cup of coffee.
Cheyanne Forgatch
The Artisan Marshmallow Company

My comfort food is pasta. One of my favorites is to make a fresh pasta sauce by roasting lots of veggies and tomatoes, throw in some olives and white wine, then toss with penne or gemelli pasta and top with fresh basil.
Gina Horlacher
Cheese Etc. & Gourmet Gifts



Aaron McCargo, Jr.

Listen in…

Last month SJ Mag launched our first podcast, “South Jersey Girls.” To kick it off, we discussed all things cooking – from who cooks and who doesn’t to our weirdest food combos. (Peanut butter and feta sandwich, anyone?) We also caught up with Aaron McCargo, Jr., season 4 winner of “The Next Food Network Star” and host of “Big Daddy’s House.” Chef McCargo had a lot to say about home-cooking during the quarantine, Camden’s unique culinary scene and using food to give back to the community. Tune in here.


November 2020
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