TV Chef Visits Elizabeth School

ELIZABETH–Mike Colameco, chef and popular host of “Colameco’s Food Show” on public television, visited Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth on Dec. 20. Colameco’s appearance was a surprise Christmas gift to Benedictine Academy Principal Kenneth Jennings, who is an enthusiastic fan of the chef, admiring him for the “authenticity and honesty in his approach” to the world of culinary.

Colameco spoke to an audience of Benedictine Academy faculty, staff, administrators and invited guests after the close of school on the Monday before Christmas. He touched on many points including his Italian heritage; growing up in west Philadelphia; family memories and cooking traditions; his pathway to becoming a chef; his current role as a father and husband; and his views on the quality of food ingredients in the U.S.


Following his talk, the celebrity chef took time to chat with guests, pose for photos, and sign autographed copies of his book, “Mike Colameco’s Foodlover’s Guide to NYC,”  before departing. The event was organized by Benedictine Academy Campus Minister Linda Michalski, Chef Peter Anderson, and the Academy’s Office of Development.

Mike Colameco (right) chef and host of “Colameco’s Food Show” on public television, enjoyed a laugh with Benedictine Academy Principal Kenneth Jennings (center) and the Academy’s Campus Minister, Linda Michalski (left) during a visit to the school by the celebrity chef on December 20. The appearance was a Christmas gift from the school to Jennings, who is an enthusiastic fan of Colameco.

Chef Mike Colameco (pictured) was both genuine and entertaining during his visit to Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth on December 20. The celebrity shared stories of his growing up Italian in west Philadelphia, as well as his love of traditions. “I was fortunate to have grandparents that cooked and followed traditions,” Colameco recalled. During his school years, the now-54-year-old chef worked in various restaurant kitchens and “fell in love with the whole rhythm of cooking”. He graduated from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and eventually became Executive Chef at the Ritz Carlton in NYC.

Peter Anderson (left), Executive Chef at Panther Valley Golf & Country Club in Allamuchy, shared some culinary war stories with fellow chef Mike Colameco, during the latter’s recent visit to Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth. Anderson, whose wife Rosemary is Development Director at the Academy, prepared the reception in honor of Colameco’s visit. Colameco spoke for an hour about memories of growing up Italian; food; restaurant career; and, his show (“Colameco’s Food Show” on public television). Responding to a question about his thoughts on the quality of food ingredients, Colameco responded that “the ingredients here (in the U.S.) have never been better. Food tastes so much better now,” he stated, noting that is due to many things including improvements in farming.

Chef Mike Colameco (center) was welcomed at Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth during a visit to the school recently. The host of public television’s “Colameco’s Food Show” spoke about how the show evolved. Noting that he wanted to “tell stories” about restaurants, and, knowing many chefs in New York City where he had worked, Colameco embarked on his new adventure in October of 2000. The show is still going strong a decade later, and Colameco has toured the world “telling stories” about many restaurants and the food they create, then re-creating his own version on television. He is pictured with Benedictine Academy administrators: (l-r) Campus Minister Linda Michalski; Development Director Rosemary Anderson; Peter Anderson, Executive Chef at Panther Valley Country Club in Sparta; (Colameco), Principal Kenneth Jennings; President Sister Germaine Fritz, OSB; and Guidance Director Sister Donna Jo Repetti, OSF. The December 20th visit was a Christmas present from the staff to Academy Principal Jennings, who is a Colameco food fan.

From scrubbing pots in local restaurants while in school, to graduating from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), to having his own television show, Chef Mike Colameco (left) has had a varied and blessed career. He has worked in New York City at the Four Seasons; Windows on the World’s “Cellars in the Sky”; Tavern on the Green; and eventually as Executive Chef at the Ritz Carlton at only 31 years of age. The host of public television’s “Colameco’s Food Show” was a guest at Benedictine Academy in Elizabeth on December 20. The celebrity chef was invited by the staff as a Christmas present to Academy Principal Kenneth Jennings (center), who is a keen fan of the chef’s show. With them is Academy President Sister Germaine Fritz, OSB.

(Photos courtesy of Benedictine Academy)

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