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Clifton Chef Competes With New Jersey's Best

Chef Josh Bernstein of Spuntino Wine Bar and Italian Tapas in Clifton entered a statewide cooking competition.
Chef Josh Bernstein of Spuntino Wine Bar and Italian Tapas in Clifton entered a statewide cooking competition. Photo Credit: Spuntino Wine Bar and Italian Tapas

CLIFTON, N.J. — Clifton chef Josh Bernstein of Spuntino Wine Bar and Italian Tapas entered a contest against his peers for the right to be named the best in the state.

Bernstein, a Wayne native, advanced past the second round in the Ultimate Chef NJ competition. The "Iron Chef" style contest continues through January as he tries to win bragging rights as the best.

Bernstein, 40, said he treats cooking as his personal creative outlet.

"I look at it like an art form and as an artist," he told Daily Voice. "It's great to be able to create and do great things with food, and also watching the people eat it and enjoy it. It's kind of an instant gratification."

In the competition, Bernstein had to create a four-course meal using a selected ingredient. He had oranges in the last round, and used it with red snapper, ravioli, duck, scallops and with dessert.

The winner in Saturday's round will move to the semifinals, followed by facing last year's winner, he said.

Bernstein came to Spuntino on Kingsland Road four years ago. He joined the competition mostly to promote the restaurant but said the bragging rights and prestige factored in as well.

Before joining the Clifton restaurant he owned 9 North in Wayne and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1999.

To follow Bernstein's progress, visit Spuntino's Facebook page.

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