Luke Palladino, Chef/Owner
In 1989, Luke Palladino was voted "most likely to succeed" by his classmates at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY. This prediction turned out to be true and the prophesy continues as he adds "Luke Palladino Seasonal Italian Cooking and Catering" to his list of accomplishments. Located in Northfield NJ, reflects his passion for design, service and style combined with the art of pasta making, Italian Antipasti tradition and the familiar components of a Trattoria or local eatery where products are sourced locally and simply prepared. "I decided early on that it was important to specialize in a specific cuisine and, because of my heritage, I wanted that to be Italian," says Palladino, who remembers family holidays as a procession of food with each relative's signature dish on a table. To ensure that his heritage was properly honored, Palladino enrolled in the CIA and dedicated himself to becoming an expert in the art of Italian cuisine. His training included four years of living and cooking in Italy.
From 1997 to mid-1998, Palladino was executive chef and partner at Venice's internationally celebrated Ristorante al Covo. "It was an incredibly intense experience because there were only three people in the kitchen — a dishwasher, a cook and me," he said. Prior to his time at al Covo, Palladino immersed himself in the culture of Italy's varied regions, spending time at restaurants in various regions, including Rome, Piemonte, Puglia, Friuli, Sicily and Tuscany. Along the way, he struck up a friendship with Carlo Petrini, the president of Slow Food, an organization dedicated to combating the culture of fast food by preserving and passing down age-old culinary practices.
In the United States, Palladino has worked with some of the country's most wellrespected chefs, including Paul Bertolli, Jeremiah Towers, Emeril Lagasse and Todd English. He worked with English from October 1999 until May 2001, first as executive chef at Onda Ristorante at the Mirage in Las Vegas, where he crafted an innovative Italian menu that incorporated the lessons he'd learned in Italy, and then he opened the Aspen outpost of Olives as its chef de cuisine. In Aspen, Palladino was awarded "Best New Chef" by the Aspen Daily News.
In 2003, he opened three restaurants simultaneously located inside the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City. Specchio, Ombra and Risi Bisi reflecting a journey fueled by passion, discipline and in the words of food writer David Rosengarten, "great farinaceous facility." Specchio presented refined Italian dishes that showcased his artistry; Ombra presented the simpler rustic flavors of the Italian countryside. At Risi Bisi, he replicated the style of Italian street food, such as paninis and pizzas. The results reinforce the accuracy of his classmates' words by earning him such accolades as, "the best unknown Italian chef in America." (The Rosengarten Report, Feb. 2004).
Currently, Palladino operates a namesake 30-seat Trattoria in Northfield, NJ..."One of the most special dining experiences in South Jersey, and one of the best Italian restaurants in the entire region. Period." — Craig LaBan, Three Bell Review, Philadelphia Inquirer, March 2011 - and according to NJ Monthly, one of 2011TOP 25 RESTAURANTS of New Jersey. With much anticipation and excitement, in the spring of 2011, Palladino partnered with Harrahs Casino & Resort in Atlantic City to open Luke Palladino Harrahs.