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Chef Spotlight: Executive Chef Walter Donadio of LOKAL Eatery & Bar in Jersey City

Chef Spotlight: Executive Chef Walter Donadio of LOKAL Eatery & Bar in Jersey City

Chef Walter Donadio is the Executive Chef of the recently opened Jersey City restaurant, Lokal Eatery & Bar. Donadio is a Michelin star kitchen trained chef with over 17 years of versatile culinary professional experience managing the provisions of fine dining for hotels, restaurants and country clubs. His experience spans the globe from various chef positions at Richy's DMCC and Café Habana in Dubai to The Smith, Nobu Fifty Seven, Le Cirque and Brasserie in New York, along with supervising kitchens at Hilton and Marriott in New Jersey. Passionate about food since growing up in his grandmother's own restaurant, he loves combinations of flavors from different cuisines and is always searching for the perfect balance. He is a graduate from the French Culinary Institute (now International Culinary Center). had the pleasure of interviewing Walter Donadio about his career and Lokal Eatery & Bar.

What was your earliest interest in cooking?

Childhood, my grandma owned a restaurant and a small boutique hotel, I spent lots of time playing with pots and pans and watching the cooks and my grandma making food

Who were some of your career mentors?

I've worked with great and talented chefs throughout my career, and all have taught me something. However, I draw much from my 2 grandmas, my dad and my teachers at school.

What culinary styles have influenced your career?

Since my background is French/Italian, much of the food I make leans towards those ethnicities, however, I've always loved Japanese food, my time there helped me understand it better and also made me able to blend flavors and ingredients easier with the foods of my background

What do you consider the most distinguishing features of your work as a chef?

Taste like home, I approach the ingredients with the utmost respect. Flavors shine on their own, my work is to marry them in ways that enhance each other and brigs you back to a specific moment in life. That's what I try to achieve every day.

What is your favorite meal?

Depends on the day, but grandma's gnocchi would have to be the one.

Tell me a little bit about your restaurant for our readers.

Lokal is the newest addition to Jersey City's revitalized dining scene. Keeping to its namesake, the restaurant will incorporate fresh and locally sourced ingredients from the Garden State. The beverage menu will boast an extensive wine and craft cocktail program. Lokal has a large bar area, several private dining spaces and floor to ceiling windows providing panoramic, jaw dropping views of the Manhattan skyline. The spectacular dining space on the Hudson River can accommodate 200 guests (seated) and includes an open-air patio. The restaurant will be open Mon-Fri for dinner; Sat-Sun for brunch & dinner.

Lokal Eatery & Bar is located on the scenic waterfront at 2nd St., Unit 101, Jersey City, NJ 07302. Visit their web site at or call them at 201.222.6800.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Walter Donadio

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