Chef Spotlight: Robbie Felice, of Viaggio by JerseyBites.com
A Culinary Institute of America grad, Chef Robbie Felice worked for years in properties owned by the Mario Batali-Joe Bastianich hospitality empire, including as sous chef and head of the salumi program at B+B Ristorante in Las Vegas. He has also staged at Michelin-starred restaurants in the Netherlands and Belgium, cooked at the 2-Michelin-starred the Modern (NYC) and in NJ at Montclair’s highly regarded Fascino. Chef Felice describes his cooking as “the way food is eaten in Italy—super fresh, meant for sharing, simple and straightforward.” A Sussex native, the 26-year-old Chef Felice owns Viaggio with his father, Joe, a seasoned restaurateur.
JERSEY BITES: What is your earliest food memory?
CHEF ROBBIE FELICE: My earliest food memories would definitely have to be my family’s cooking, especially my grandmothers’. They are both amazing cooks and I was always blessed to be eating great food. On my father’s side, great Italian, and on my mother’s side, Dutch. Didn’t matter what the occasion, whether it was a holiday or just spending the weekend eating a bowl of homemade soup or a plate of pasta, it was always superb. In addition, since my dad owned restaurants, I remember being in them from basically as far back as I could remember. Always being forced to try things on the menu when really, all I wanted was my father’s homemade chicken fingers that he would bread to order just for me. In one restaurant, there was a big photo on the wall of me dressed like a chef and my baby brother in a pot munching on some dry pasta. I’ll never forget that picture, and it’s funny: my dad’s old customers come into Viaggio now and still bring it up.