M                             Z
                                                                    As part of Palmer’s team, he was exposed to many great American and international
                                                                    chefs, and he cooked alongside Palmer at the James Beard Foundation’s Gala Reception
                                                                    honoring its annual awardees.

                                  ATTHEW APPOLI                     Demonstrating a commitment and skill level beyond his years, Zappoli was selected by
                                                                    Palmer to work as Sous Chef at his new Dry Creek Kitchen restaurant in the Sonoma,
                                                                    CA wine country in 2001. On his way west, Zappoli trained at the Las Vegas outpost of
                                 EXECUTIVE CHEF                     Aureole, a striking $11 million venue at the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Palmer and his staff
                                      “ Creating signature dishes   were so impressed with Zappoli’s work in Las Vegas that they asked him to stay
                                                                    permanently. Quickly promoted to Executive Sous Chef, Zappoli became responsible
                                      at the Jersey shore’s best    for much of the day-to-day operations of the 375-seat restaurant, which continues to
                                      italian restaurant.”          receive international acclaim.

At age 31, Matthew Zappoli is among the                             After tasting Zappoli’s food for the first time, San Diego restaurateur Sami Ladeki was
youngest chefs/owners to be cooking at a                            convinced the young chef would be ideal for his newest venture, Fresh Seafood Restau-
critically acclaimed restaurant. Born in                            rant & Bar, in La Jolla, CA. Looking for a new challenge, Zappoli headed to the west
Brooklyn, NY, and raised on the Jersey Shore,                       coast, and Ladeki’s decision to offer a more sophisticated cuisine was largely driven by
                                                                    the talents he saw in Zappoli. As Fresh’s Executive Chef, Zappoli created a constantly
he first began cooking with his mother, turning
                                                                    evolving seasonal menu featuring superlative seafood from the world’s richest waters.
out the rustic, family-style dishes emblematic
                                                                    At Fresh, he developed a signature cooking style that took full advantage of San Diego’s
of his Italian heritage. At age 13, he turned
                                                                    coastal location, unrivaled produce, and international culinary traditions. Reflecting the
“professional,” starting out in a neighborhood
                                                                    sentiments of his mentor, Charlie Palmer, Zappoli brought to Fresh a clear culinary
pizzeria and working his way into the kitchens                      philosophy: “If you start with the absolute highest quality seafood and best produce, you
of various Italian restaurants, steakhouses, and                    then have the luxury of allowing those ingredients to stand on their own merit, without
banquet halls of Central New Jersey. As                             requiring heavy sauces or other distractions.”
Zappoli’s craft improved, cooking became
a passion, and he was motivated to make a                           In August 2004, Zappoli traveled to New York to appear as a featured chef at the James
career of it.                                                       Beard House and was named by Bon Appétit as one of “Five Chefs to Watch” in 2005,
                                                                    both tremendous honors for any chef, and particularly rare for a chef of his age.
While he was a student at the prestigious
Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park,                         After several years on the west coast, Zappoli sought to return to his east coast roots,
NY, Zappoli spent time in the kitchens of                           and he served as Executive Chef at the four-star restaurant Raven and the Peach in Fair
Lutèce and La Grenouille, two of New York                           Haven, NJ, and then at both Zoë Soho and Zoë Townhouse in New York City. But when
City’s most celebrated restaurants. After                           opportunity knocked, Zappoli answered in 2008, as he, his brother Paul Zappoli, and
graduating with honors from the Culinary                            their lifelong friend Michael Cacciuttolo opened Tre Amici al Piccolo Forno on Ocean
Institute in 1998, he headed back to the Big                        Avenue in Long Branch, NJ. Zappoli has brought his culinary philosophy to the Jersey
Apple, where he was hired by culinary icon                          Shore, putting his stamp on many Italian classics by using fresh, local ingredients. So
Charlie Palmer and put to work at Palmer’s                          impressed was the Food Network by Zappoli’s and Tre Amici’s exploits, that Zappoli
famed flagship restaurant, Aureole. The young                       was featured in the summer of 2009 on the network’s chef competition show Chopped.
chef gained valuable experience at all cooking                      After a long road that took him across the country, Zappoli is back among family and
stations and learned to appreciate the kind of                      old friends, creating signature dishes at the Jersey Shore’s best Italian restaurant.
discipline that is essential in kitchens of such

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