Armed with a zillion interview questions and my camera, I arrived at a local dining mecca, The Ryland Inn in Whitehouse Station, NJ to meet with their Executive Chef, Anthony Bucco.
I was warmly welcomed and escorted through the kitchen into the private “chef’s room” so that Chef Bucco could keep an eye on the dining prep that was taking place while we chatted. As we talked, I observed the hard work that was going on around us, and realized that Chef Bucco has created an atmosphere in which teamwork, food, culture and deliciously fresh entrees come together. As we started talking, my interview questions were abandoned and I felt like I was talking to an old friend.
Chef Bucco is honest, warm and utterly charming. It’s hard to think of a person further removed from the typical arrogant character of a successful Executive Chef. With a “love of food, ingredients and sensory eating,” Chef Bucco’s presence can be felt in the dining room and has contributed immeasurably to building what he calls “the temple of gastronomy.”
The new owners, Landmark Hospitality, hired Chef Bucco as their Executive Chef with the goal of honoring the past with “a blend of sophisticated and warm traditional yet modern cuisine with new décor and amenities.” Here, every staff member works together to make the landscape and the food something to behold. With a garden and hens out back, amazingly the team can be found outside gardening with shovels and collecting eggs as well as preparing incredible dishes. The results are impressive.
The Ryland Inn is breathtaking and the art of good cooking and eating is at the heart of it all. Chef Bucco talked openly about food and the philosophy used at The Ryland Inn: locally produced food is best and he “embraces sustainability as a core value not only in the kitchen but in business as well.” Chef Bucco stresses that “the fresher the ingredients, the better the flavor of the food.” For the most part, it is all farm to table fresh and if it is not grown out back, it is sourced from many Hunterdon, Somerset and Morris County farms. This method of cooking is slow-food-eating at it’s best and is simply delicious.
The Ryland Inn is not only a New Jersey dining destination but also a local go-to restaurant. While it’s not an “Inn,” there is an outstanding bar, beautiful dining room and private party rooms. It’s really spectacular and whether you make it a destination or live locally, it’s a must visit! As Chef Bucco says, “with the use of deceptively simple, local ingredients and superb kitchen staff, The Ryland Inn’s goal is to have very happy patrons.”
The Ryland Inn
115 Old Highway 28, Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889