Writing about food can give you some unique opportunities. Sent to cover a local restaurant that would be featured on a major news show in the near future, I went in with low expectations. Thinking the news team would consider me in the way, the experience was completely to the contrary.
The setting is The Boondocks Fishery on the Navesink River in Red Bank, NJ. A local and much beloved restaurant serving lunch and dinner, but only seasonally. The view is stunning and in the words of Kelly Ryan, owner of this establishment, “You want to be able to get your hands dirty when eating lobster.” Explaining the relaxed, down home decor. “I think this place is perfect for that.”
The ABC news team consisted of Lauren Glassberg and a camera man. Both were remarkably at ease, professional, and pleasant. Their one request was not to use the flash on my camera. Glassberg called the shots. The camera man accommodated her movements and positions, showing clearly that this was not their first rodeo. She asked the chef, Trinidad Mendez specific questions about the Spicy Seafood Gumbo ($6.25), which was the featured dish, and quizzed Ryan about the other dishes coming out of the kitchen.
The segment the news team shot should be AIRING FRIDAY JULY 25TH, 5PM, CHANNEL 7; WABC.
What goes into the making of a news worthy recipe? Ryan shared a few secrets with me about how this small kitchen works to produce so many seafood dinners every day.
The sheet of paper above is the basic recipe for the gumbo. The chef knew just how much to add to the pot. They explained that the choices of fish sometimes depended on what was fresh and available, but the rest of the ingredients are what make the soup a standard.
Impressive is the word that came to mind when I saw the lobster roll. It dawned on me that I saw no huge pots on the stove, so had to ask where all the lobsters are cooked. Ryan said that they use a deep fryer full of water (“It get’s very hot”) to cook about 20, one and a half pound lobsters at a time.
The other side of writing about food is that there are deadlines to abide by. Missing lunch after the photo shoot, my job was to get back to the desk. Lucky for me though, as I said earlier, this place is local and I intend to take advantage of it during the summer. Some say it is like finding a bit of New England in New Jersey. I think it is exactly what the top of the Jersey Shore is about.