Hi, everybody. I’d like to introduce myself. My name is David Valiante, I’m from Mount Laurel, NJ, and I’m excited to begin blogging about the Collingswood and Haddonfield food and restaurant scene, arguably the most dynamic food spots in South Jersey.
Food and I have a storied, rocky history. I grew up a picky eater; bold flavors and new textures frightened me, and through most of my adolescence and into my early adulthood, I survived on a strict diet of hotdogs and PB&Js. I mean, I’d slip the occasional pizza (plain) in here and there, but it was pretty limited. Lunchmeat? Wouldn’t touch it. Same went for anything that came from the sea, anything Mexican, and just about any and all vegetables. Point is, I’m the last person anybody expected would stick a piece of raw fish or fatty duck liver in his mouth. It wasn’t until college, when I climbed the ranks of table-jockeying from bad chain restaurant, to better chain restaurant, to casual and finally fine dining, that my curiosity finally got the better of my timid palate and I began experimenting. When I discovered that not only would food not kill me, but, oh my GOD, some of this stuff was really really good, there was no looking back. I began devoting myself to the discovery of wonderful new flavors.
For the past five years, my life has been tied up in food. I began doing restaurant reviews in Philadelphia three years ago, from storied Le Bec Fin to new favorite Blackfish in Conshohocken and everywhere in between. Not content to just eat food, but wanting to really understand it, I spent time in culinary school and gained an awesome appreciation for just how hard working, talented and passionate you must be to succeed as a chef. And finally, I’ve come full circle to Collingswood and Haddonfield, where a trip to Sagami when my culinary adventures first began told me all I needed to know about the how much beauty and elegance can come from a piece of fish in the hands of an expert.
Needless to say, I’m thrilled to be checking in often with all the latest news and updates on what’s happening down here. I’ll keep my ear to the ground, but feel free to contact me with any tips or suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.