AT THIS WALL TOWNSHIP MARKET, THE MISSION IS PUTTING A CONTEMPORARY TWIST ON CLASSIC ITALIAN DISHES
BY JESSICA JONES GORMAN • PHOTOS BY AMANDA DOMENECH
When Eric Yegelwel is in the kitchen at Mossuto’s Market & Café, there’s inevitably something creative happening.
“I really love food,” the young chef laughed, detailing his passion for freshly made fettuccine, thinly sliced oyster mushrooms, crispy fried pancetta, and thick slabs of porterhouse, seared to perfection. “And am inspired by fresh ingredients and traditional Italian recipes, so when I’m cooking at the café, that’s what I like to focus on.”
Yegelwel, who found his passion for cooking at a vocational program in high school before attending the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan, said he has a penchant for taking traditional dishes to a modern level. “The menu here is full of Italian staples…comfort foods that have been on the menu forever,” he noted. “People love our homemade pastas, and we make everything from scratch every day. They gravitate towards dishes like orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe and chicken scarpariello served with sausage and vinegar peppers. But what I like to do is put a little twist on those regional favorites offer a pan seared tuna and roasted vegetable stir fry over cappellini pasta, say, or do a beautiful baked rigatoni with butternut squash. In the winter, I serve a hearty bouillabaisse, even though it’s a dish, of course, with French roots.”
Yegelwel also crafts his own artisan pizza and dry ages all of the restaurant’s steaks, too, using techniques he’s slowly accumulated over a lifetime.
“I would cook with my mom and grandparents when I was young, and whether we were making Sunday breakfast or chicken cutlets, I just loved the process,” he said. “My high school counselors steered me toward a culinary curriculum, and I found even more enthusiasm for this industry in my days at the French Culinary Institute.”
Upon his graduation from what is now the International Culinary Center in lower Mahattan, the Howell resident started working at the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster before taking a position at Avenue, a Parisian style brasserie in Long Branch.
“I worked every station there: I made salads, shucked clams and oysters, and made my way through grill, then sauté areas,” he said. “After about three years, I made a move to the former Red in Red Bank where I served as sous chef. I had started thinking about opening my own place by the time I met Ben.” Ben, better known as Biagio Schiano, owned Nicchio Ristorante in Belmar and hired Yegelwel to help run his kitchen. After three years, they parted amicably when Yegelwel left to work at Firefly Oceanside Restaurant in Point Pleasant.
“We always stayed in touch, though; he’s a great guy to work for,” Yegelwel said.
After Schiano expanded his father’s Italian deli in 2003 and opened Mossuto’s, Yegelwel returned to work for the seasoned chef in 2015.
“I loved what he was doing with the café and wanted to be a part of it,” Yegelwel concluded. “We work with only the freshest ingredients to create these truly authentic Italian dishes. I can honestly say I get up every morning and can’t wait to get into this kitchen. Crafting delicious meals for guests who appreciate good food; can anything be better?”
Mossuto’s Market & Café
2029 State Route 35 South, Wall / 732.449.8058