The story of two chefs: they share more than their passion for culinary creativity | Upside down

Editor’s Note: Welcome to Inside Out, our weekly roundup of stories about Staten Islanders who make waves, are seen, who support our community, and who simply make our borough a special place to live. Got a story for Inside Out? Email Carol Ann Benanti at [email protected]

From the left, Antonio Migliaccio and Stefano Sena. Sena presented Migliaccio with his book “The Bocelli Cookbook”, Chef Stefano’s favorite recipes. (Staten Island Advance / Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island Advance

STATEN ISLAND, NY – When it comes to culinary creativity and culinary prowess, the pursuit of excellence can be a challenge, especially in today’s world of fusion cuisines and the blending of cultures and food disciplines.

Although chefs all share a common bond when it comes to their deep passion for cooking, in the culinary arts these days the competition is particularly fierce.

Armed with a food craze and the desire to create culinary masterpieces rooted in their hearts, many believe that great chefs are born – not made – and their fates are written in the stars.

Think of Stefano Sena and Antonio Migliaccio.

The story of two chefs

Stefano Sena at Bocelli Ristorante, Grasmere. (Staten Island Advance) Staten Island AdvanceStaten Island Advance

When Sena, former co-owner of Bocelli Ristorante, who is now a consultant and ‘ambassador’ at Zagat-rated restaurant Grasmere, made an impromptu visit to Noodle Pudding and met Antonio Migliaccio, the executive chef / longtime owner of restaurant Brooklyn Heights, the parallels in their lives were troubling.

As Sena and Migliaccio exchanged ideas related to food, it was obvious that they came from the same mold.

Sena gave Migliaccio a copy of his cookbook, “The Bocelli Cookbook, Chef Stefano’s Favorite Recipes”.


After chatting for a bit, the men learned that they shared a number of things – interests not only in the culinary arts, culinary discoveries, and running an enterprising hotel business, but also in their personal lives.

The story of two chefs

At Noodle Pudding, from left, Stefano Sena and Antonio Migliaccio and the waiters at Noodle Puddling (Staten Island Advance / Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island AdvanceStaten Island Advance

Both chefs are born Italians who immigrated to America from the Campania region in southern Italy – Stefano d’Avellino and Antonio d’Ischia, a volcanic island in the Gulf of Naples – leaving behind members of their family and seeking a better life in this country. They both settled in Brooklyn in the early 1960s. And although their paths had not crossed until recently, they discovered that they lived not so far from each other in our neighboring borough.

Both are family oriented and have never lost sight of the importance of family values. And while other commitments can sometimes take them away, they still focus on a strong family presence.

Said Sena, “When I was a young adult I was learning the trade at Michaelangelo Restaurant on U Avenue in Brooklyn, an upscale restaurant owned by my brother Renato,” the executive chef was a man named Giacomo. And Giacomo was born in Ischia. As a result, I learned a lot, not only about the area, but also to cook specialty dishes native to the area where Antonio was born. I therefore appreciate the fine cuisine of Antonio Migliacco.

And Sena, a former chef at the Ritz Carlton in Manhattan and the Chanticler, Short Hills, NJ, many may recall being the opening chef at the former Monte Bianco in Grant City, from the ‘Excelsior Grand in New Dorp and the Hilton Garden. Inn, Bloomfield.

The two chefs have always maintained and emphasized that simplicity and true flavors are the key ingredients of authentic Italian cuisine at home.

Migliaccio, who has run the picturesque authentic 60-seat Italian restaurant for 25 years, has a calm, calm and unpretentious demeanor. In fact, he has been described as a man who “speaks through his food”.

The story of two chefs

Noodle Pudding menu and seasonal holiday decor. (Courtesy / Michelle Goldman) Staten Island AdvanceStaten Island Advance

He started Noodle Pudding with the idea of ​​cooking fresh food at the right price. He had been the former owner of a restaurant on Court Street in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Noodle Pudding has nothing to do with pudding, but is the literal English translation of Migliaccio’s last name – noodle pudding or a bowl of noodles.


Noodle Pudding is housed in a vintage building in Brooklyn Heights renowned for its exquisite architecture and numerous brown stone townhouses, many built before the Civil War. At one time, Noodle Pudding was next door to an authentic wire brush factory and a candy factory when the mode of travel was on horseback.

Like Sena, Migliaccio’s priority is centered on his guests, making sure his food is the best it can be and making diners feel extra special. And both men say being in the restaurant business isn’t just about preparing food and serving, but also making diners feel like they are in the dining room of their own home.

Both chefs believe in authentic Italian decor. And while the pattern is different in many ways, the basics are the same: Noodle Pudding with its old world charm, exposed brickwork and unusual lighting and classic, quirky mahogany bar – and Bocelli with its fine woodwork, its intricate moldings and eye-catching style. Mediterranean murals.


October 31

Happy Halloween Birthday Sunday to Joyce Gheraldi, Jennifer and Christina Randazzo, Tony Lordo Sr., Ellen McHugh, Joseph Falcone, Eileen Downing, Michael Putney, Darrin Porter and Tom Andersen.

Sunday wedding anniversary greetings to Jillian and Tim Rose.

NOV. 1

Monday is birthday time for Judith Driscoll and her daughter Beth, Jasmine Mercado and twins Sebastian and Ilirian Popinara, who are 9 years old.

Happy wedding anniversary Monday to Lynn and Terry McHugh.

NOV. 2

The best of birthdays Tuesday to Robert Wiese and Angela Commissa Frisone

NOV. 3

Happy Birthday Wednesday to John Caltabiano, Tiffany Angelico, Matthew Tafone, 33, Caroline Sullivan, Laura Percoco, Tara Ann Pisano, Frank Floridia, James Greco, Peter Palazzotto, Stacy Benton, Michele Fitzgibbons and Kaitlyn Dratsczyk.

Happy wedding anniversary Wednesday to Anna and Robert Breazzano and to Jennifer and Quamie Smith.

NOV. 4

Birthday greetings Thursday to Gina Biancardi, President and Founder of Casa Belvedere, the Italian Cultural Center of Grymes Hill, Eithner Byrne, Charlotte Landry, Amanda Nielsen, Tom Hart, Jeff Canney, Rodney Stilwell, Phil Ebner, Robert Widener and Jerry Kelly . Cheryl and John Gaugh celebrate a birthday.

NOV. 5

Richmond County Clerk Steve Fiala celebrates a birthday Friday with Christopher Ramos, Thomas Leli, Linda Doherty, Ruth Valva and Gary Escobar.

Happy wedding anniversary Friday to Emma and Jim Briazzano.

NOV. 6

Saturday is birthday time for former Congressman Dan Donovan, Eddie D’Anna, Peg McGinley Reilly, Ann Marie Calzolari, Hall of Frames Hall of Frames Janice Giacalone Stoffers, Nicki Buczkowski, Mildred Olsen and the twins James and Joseph Stropoli, who are 8 years old.

It’s the wedding anniversary Saturday for Pat and Joe Sansone, for Mary and Joe Spillane and Peter and Karen Rondinelli.

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