One demanding New Jersey chef once tied his cooks to the stove by their apron strings. Another was such a finicky eater as a child, he refused to allow his cereal to touch his milk. One was kissed by Fidel Castro, another played onstage with Todd Rundgren. Celebrity Chefs of New Jersey peeks into the kitchens and the lives of some of the most famous chefs in the Garden State, where foodies and other gourmands will discover passions, kitchen secrets, life lessons, and signature recipes. Not so long ago, perhaps even just at the turn of this century, it was easy to lament the lack of sophisticated food in New Jersey. Oh sure, a few restaurants always sparkled, but, for the most part, New Jerseyans looked across at the bright lights of the big city, wistfully yearning for a table in glamorous Manhattan. Now, however, the most sought- after tables are right here and we have the best seats in the house, made even sweeter perhaps because they're our own little secret. We can dine frequently and dine well, with a smug sense that if only New Yorkers knew, they'd be looking across the river wishing they were us. In Celebrity Chefs of New Jersey, Teresa Politano profiles Craig Shelton, the chef who crystallized New Jersey's place in culinary history with his legendary Ryland Inn, along with other chefs, telling their personal stories of both creativity and survival. Some of these men and women rose from humble or difficult childhoods to fame in the food world. Others were not only talented but lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. Their stories are arranged into three categories: legends, stars, and chefs to watch, and then topped off with a sweet surprise finish. Politano includes photographs, cooking secrets, and some of their sought-after signature recipes that are sophisticated but manageable for the skilled home chef.