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Whitsons School Nutrition® Hosts Guest Chef Phil Deffina
at Middletown Township Public Schools

Chef Deffina Served Up His Version of Traditional Meat and Potatoes for Students


Middletown 008smallWhitsons School Nutrition at Middletown Township Public Schools in Middletown, NJ was pleased to host accomplished Chef Phil Deffina as a special guest chef at the district’s two high schools. Chef Deffina has been recognized in the culinary world as a new, up-and-coming chef. As a Culinary Institute of America graduate, Deffina has worked his way around the country, from Icarus in Boston to La Folie in San Francisco with the renowned Chef Roland Passot. He has also worked with culinary pioneer Chef David Burke in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Chef Deffina has been known to whip up slam dunks similar to Chef Burke’s, but with his own innovative twists, ultimately being considered the “new Burkean acolyte”.


“After working for two of the most playful and master-minded chefs in the country, you start to look at things from way out of the box, melding flavor combinations and creating well thought out presentations,” says Chef Deffina. Chef Deffina is currently at the helm of one of New Jersey’s most popular hot spots, Char Steakhouse, located in both Raritan and Red Bank, New Jersey.


On October 23rd and 25th, Chef Deffina made a special guest chef appearance for students at Middletown’s High School North and High School South, where the foodservice program is managed by Whitsons School Nutrition®. While at the high school cafés, Deffina prepared his take on a traditional meat and potatoes dish, which consisted of delicious braised short ribs served over garlic cream gnocchi, for students to enjoy.


“It was a pleasure for us to cook at two local high schools and have the opportunity to go above and beyond for our community—not only providing one of our signature dishes, but also the ability to inspire our youth.  We hope the time spent with the students helped influence them to strive for their future goals, encourage a willingness to create, and promote a positive outlook on life,” said Chef Deffina.


“We are pleased to have hosted Chef Deffina,” said Craig Whitcomb, Vice President of Operations at Whitsons. “He is a passionate culinarian with an accomplished background. We are fortunate to have been able to work with him at Middletown, as he shared his knowledge of food with the students that we serve.”