Chef Peter Loria remembers watching and helping his Sicilian father and grandfather prepare a wide variety of delicious cuisines, as well as his maternal grandmother, a Czech native who was an amazing baker. These influences in his early childhood provided key inspirations for his life-long love of comfort food. After graduating college, Peter went on to briefly pursue a career as an electrical engineer. During this time, he discovered his passion for fine food and enrolled at the French Culinary Institute in 1986, graduating first in his class.
Peter began his culinary career with a year in the kitchen at Bouley, learning everything he could as he worked closely with esteemed Chef David Bouley. In 1987, he decided to open his first restaurant; Park Avenue in Rutherford, New Jersey, a French bistro concept. This space would ultimately become Cafe Matisse in 1994, evolving after Peter updated the concept and name a few times, including a stint as a popular Italian restaurant called Pasta Tivoli from 1992-1994.
We asked Chef Peter for a recipe he thinks best embraces the spring season. He handed us his recipe for “Vanilla Maple Glazed Tofu,” and from then we knew that we had a winning recipe that everyone would surely love!
Vanilla Maple Glazed Tofu
6, 1 ounce firm tofu rounds
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 vanilla beans scraped
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Place the maple syrup, vanilla bean scrapings into a pan with a dollop of butter and teaspoon of vanilla extract cook it down to almost a caramel consistency.
2. Pour over tofu and then refrigerate prior to serving add Cranberry Relish topping and serve ” garnish with sprig of mint.
Sweet Cranberry Relish
1 16 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
3 vanilla bean pods, scraped
1/2 c. orange Juice
1/4 c. honey
1/2 c. macerated orange segments
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
1/4 c. dark balsamic vinegar
1. Combine all ingredients into saucepan, cook until cranberries start to burst open and all liquid is reduced to a jam-like consistency.
2. Cool cranberry relish and top tofu rounds.
Cafe Matisse is located at 167 Park Ave Rutherford, New Jersey 07070[mappress mapid=”176″]
Hours of Operation
Tuesday – Thursday 05:30 PM to close
Friday 06:00 PM to close
Saturday 05:00 PM ” 10:00 PM
Sunday 05:00 PM to close
Closed on Mondays