Q&A with SOUL STAFF:
SOUS Chef Rob NITTI

What got you into cooking?
I guess you could say I have been training to be a chef my whole life, everything from helping my cousin in his diner when I was a kid to helping my grandparents jar up the tomatoes in their basement. Being an Italian, food is second nature to me. Every family event whether it’s a wedding, funeral, or just a Sunday get together, there will be too much food. When I got out of high school, I thought I wanted to be an engineer like my father, but quickly realized that wasn’t for me. I was working for Aramark during the summer doing concessions at the arts center and decided maybe this could be my future, so I went to culinary school and it turns out I was right. I Love Food!
What brought you to the jbj soul kitchen?

I was looking for a change of scenery from the restaurants I had been working at, which at the time was mostly fine dining locations like the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank, and Pascal and Sabine in Asbury Park. One day Rob Wood reached out saying they were looking for some help at the JBJ Soul Kitchen Toms River.  I really liked the idea of feeding the community.  I came down to check the place out and the rest is history.

What makes the jbj soul kitchen different from other restaurants?

Our mission: JBJ Soul Kitchen isn’t here to make a profit. We are here to make sure no matter who you are, or what your situation is, that you go home happy and with a full belly. Together with our volunteers we form an unbeatable team ready to serve the community and the in-need.

What would you say to get people to come check out the JBJ Soul Kitchen Toms River?

One of my biggest things I truly believe is that food can bring people together. With the flexibility of the menus I want to show people that there is a whole world of food to explore. On top of that, we are in the perfect position to change lives. Not only to provide meals, but to really get people in the community help if they need it.

Does anything special influence your cooking / cooking style?
Definitely my family. My grandmother, before she passed, was a wealth of knowledge that will be passed down hopefully to my future children and theirs. I was able to take her flavors from the kitchen and apply them to modern techniques, and I think it really makes something wonderful. I got my love of gardening from my grandfather that really adds to my appreciation where the food comes from and the hard work that goes into every single thing.
Tell us something about yourself that most people probably don't know!
I lived in Florence, Italy for a while. It really confirmed for me that I was doing what I was meant to, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. When I was there the one thing that I really loved was the fact that even though we couldn’t always understand each other, food was a constant common language we could speak together.

Q&A with SOUL STAFF
Sous Chef Rob Nitti

What got you into cooking?
I guess you could say I have been training to be a chef my whole life, everything from helping my cousin in his diner when I was a kid to helping my grandparents jar up the tomatoes in their basement. Being an Italian, food is second nature to me. Every family event whether it’s a wedding, funeral, or just a Sunday get together, there will be too much food. When I got out of high school, I thought I wanted to be an engineer like my father, but quickly realized that wasn’t for me. I was working for Aramark during the summer doing concessions at the arts center and decided maybe this could be my future, so I went to culinary school and it turns out I was right. I Love Food!
What brought you to the jbj soul kitchen?

I was looking for a change of scenery from the restaurants I had been working at, which at the time was mostly fine dining locations like the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank, and Pascal and Sabine in Asbury Park. One day Rob Wood reached out saying they were looking for some help at the JBJ Soul Kitchen Toms River.  I really liked the idea of feeding the community.  I came down to check the place out and the rest is history.

What makes the jbj soul kitchen different from other restaurants?

Our mission: JBJ Soul Kitchen isn’t here to make a profit. We are here to make sure no matter who you are, or what your situation is, that you go home happy and with a full belly. Together with our volunteers we form an unbeatable team ready to serve the community and the in-need.

What would you say to get people to come check out the JBJ Soul Kitchen Toms River?

One of my biggest things I truly believe is that food can bring people together. With the flexibility of the menus I want to show people that there is a whole world of food to explore. On top of that, we are in the perfect position to change lives. Not only to provide meals, but to really get people in the community help if they need it.

Does anything special influence your cooking / cooking style?
Definitely my family. My grandmother, before she passed, was a wealth of knowledge that will be passed down hopefully to my future children and theirs. I was able to take her flavors from the kitchen and apply them to modern techniques, and I think it really makes something wonderful. I got my love of gardening from my grandfather that really adds to my appreciation where the food comes from and the hard work that goes into every single thing.
Tell us something about yourself that most people probably don't know
I lived in Florence, Italy for a while. It really confirmed for me that I was doing what I was meant to, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. When I was there the one thing that I really loved was the fact that even though we couldn’t always understand each other, food was a constant common language we could speak together.

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