Check out The Orange Squirrel!

I (follow/am “friends” with him) (since I’ve met him several times through the Montclair Food & Wine Festival (#MFWF), and so) saw this on Chef Francesco Palmieri’s personal Facebook page. As you can see, I responded to his call, and he replied. Great. (I thought: “I will do him the favor of being a body to make the place look lively, and I will get free food—double-good!”) I went there on time (earlier than scheduled) and asked how I could help. (I had worn black so as to be able to blend into the background; I certainly didn’t want to be interviewed on camera. [No worries, about that—we had a good crowd and the host/producer found some articulate people to talk to.])


Here’s what the scene looked like:


Alexandra with her mother Melody Kettle (the founder & director of #MFWF!), with [my new friend] Doreen Sarcone (Bloomfield Center Alliance), in the left corner. [My old friend] Paul Brewster (from FitzGerald’s 1928, in Glen Ridge) and his wife, in the back. [My new friends] Barbara & Paul Castigila, against the wall. Penwah Phynjuar, at the bar. [My new friend] Diane Biancamano, in the middle, with other good folks.


The chef being interviewed, in a quiet moment, after (he was taped while) cooking all that food.




Melody Kettle (also of the renowned Hot From the Kettle blog #HFTK) being interviewed.


Penwah proudly eating the mushrooms tempura with her fingers…
… and equally not shy about licking them!

I’ve met Lauren Glassberg, of “Neighborhood Eats,” several times before. She’s a great gal, and a real pro. She and her videographer taped bits of the chef cooking, of him being interviewed, of the plated food. He made (what he called “Global Comfort Food,” [and I’m surprised that this expression wasn’t used in the final video product]) a skate dish, mushrooms tempura, pizza, calamari, a pot pie, and this vegan “BLT” soup:

tos6How cute is this girl?! (Althea is the daughter of chef de cuisine Andrew Watterson.) Oh right: another (the first) dish that the chef made was pasta—a short rigatoni tossed with who knows what… I was too busy… (including taking photos of people!)…

The Orange Squirrel on Facebook

Have I mentioned that the chef had only kitchen staff on hand? That’s right: no front of house personnel! So guess who jumped in, to be #maitredwaiterbusboy ! I sat people as they came in, got them something to drink, introduced them to each other, and then served all those dishes that I mentioned above. They were large platters, so I shared them around. And then cleared plates and refilled glasses. And served more. And repeated. There was plenty of food, and everyone loved it/was stuffed!

Here   am, in action:

RH as waiterClick the above screen-shot
to read the text, see the recipe for the soup,
and to view the finished video segment
(which ran [on the 5:00 p.m. News] on 8/1/14)
on WABC-TV’s website.

As blogged on (by my friends at) Baristanet—

with three of the photos to which I gave them exclusive rights.

The Orange Squirrel’s websitex


UPdate: here’s another TV shoot I attended,
at De Novo Montclair, European Pub



6 Responses to Check out The Orange Squirrel!

  1. foodbytes says:

    THANKS for sharing…. Great piece and photo of you. RS  

    Rosie Saferstein
    Table Hopping With Rosie
    New Jersey Monthly
    Member IACP, AFJ, and The James Beard Foundation

  2. Raymmmondo says:

    Wow, what a great surprise! A totally unsolicited comment, by one of the best food bloggers around! I follow her every (internet) (dining) move, and had no idea that she paid attention to anything of mine! Hugs: {{{Rosie}}}

  3. Aside from hearing about The Orange Squirrel’s delectable cuisine, it looks like a great place to meet old and new friends! Congrats to Mr. Hospitality himself, Raymond Helfrich, on being captured by ABC News!

  4. Raymmmondo says:

    Thank you, Sara. Those are good ways to describe both the food and the ambiance! I was pleased, to be able to assist a fine chef who’s now becoming a better friend…

  5. Cool coverage, Raymond, both of you and of the Orange Squirrel! And you look very well-suited to that sort of service in that location — he was lucky to have Mr. Hospitality when and where he’s needed. Does he know you do this on a scheduled basis, as well as ad hoc? 🙂

  6. Thanks for reading & commenting, Jake; I know how busy you are!

    Yes, it’s good exposure for a great chef & restaurant—just in time for Bloomfield’s Restaurant Week, too.

    Many more people know me as both “Mr. H.” & “Man About Town,” these days. I will land somewhere, special, soon… and my network will gladly follow me… Cheers!

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