Our Blue Morel Chef Team
BLUE MOREL'S TEAM
Chef Thomas Ciszak
Executive Chef/Partner, Chakra Restaurant (Paramus)
TLC Restaurant Group Chef/Director, Blue Morel (Morristown)
Thomas Ciszak is one of the Northeast’s most acclaimed chefs.
Under his direction, Blue Morel offers modern, local, American farm-to-table cuisine. Accessible and approachable, Blue Morel’s new menus feature dishes that range from old family recipes to playful twists on contemporary American favorites—in addition to the award-winning sushi and raw bars for which Thomas is famous.
Born in Germany and trained at top schools and restaurants in his home country, Chef Ciszak came to the United States in 1994. His work grew noticed and he gained great popularity first at The Manor in West Orange, then at Tavern on the Green in Manhattan. From there, he joined The Fireman Hospitality Group as opening Executive Chef at Shelly's New York. In 2005, Chef Ciszak launched Copeland (now Blue Morel) at the Westin Governor Morris to universally outstanding reviews.[Read More]
Building on his culinary talent and business acumen, Chef Ciszak launched TC Culinary Solutions in 2006, consulting nationally for a number of high-end hotels and restaurants. In August 2010, Chef Ciszak announced the merger of his company with Jason and Peter Longo and Philip Chiaramonte, owners of Chakra in Paramus, NJ, to form The TLC Restaurant Group, which owns, operates, and manages a variety of restaurant concepts in the New Jersey region.
TLC’s first project was the relaunch of Chakra, with Chef Ciszak as Executive Chef/Partner. His newly energized and reconfigured menus there received a rave 3-1/2 star review from The Record's Elisa Ung, who noted, "The space is as dramatic as ever, but the real star is what's on your plate." (12/3/10, http://www.northjersey.com/food_dining/111247849_Non-snob_appeal.html).
Chef Ciszak’s appealing international, multicultural menus are sophisticated but accessible. His food is presented thoughtfully and without pretense. A unique style that melds his European approach and American experience.
Bobby Varua brings an extensive background in modern French and American cuisine to his position of Executive Chef at Blue Morel Restaurant and Wine Bar in Morristown, NJ.Born in New York City and raised in Long Island, New York…Bobby Varua developed his love for cooking at an early stage from his father.
A graduate of The Art Institute of New York, Bobby has had the opportunity to work at some of New York City’s most acclaimed restaurants. Under the tutelage of Daniel Boulud (Restaurant DANIEL), Jean-George (JEAN-GEORGE), Charlie Palmer (Aureole) and Michael Lomanaco (WINDOWS ON THE WORLD)…Bobby has spent over a decade developing his own technique utilizing meticulous philosophy and approach he learned from his previous mentors.
In 2003, Bobby was asked to oversee the culinary regime alongside French born, 3 star Michelin chef, Claude Troisgros in the opening of CAVIAR & BANANA RESTRURRNT located on East 24th Street in New York City. A combination of classic French technique and South American ingredients, Bobby was able to put his stamp on the New York City dining scene as TIME OUT NEW YORK MAGAZINE recognized Bobby as “Rising Star Chef” in 2004.
“…working with the Troisgros family was one of the most inspirational periods of my cooking career. To be able to work alongside someone I studied in school was truly a career memory I truly will never forget”
In 2005, Bobby was asked by Tavistock Restaurant Group (based in Emeryville, CA) to oversee all culinary operations of the newly developed ZED451 Restaurants located in Chicago, Illinois. As the Corporate Executive Chef, Bobby’s responsibilities included menu design, instituting operational procedures, and the development of a profitable culinary program amongst multiple units.
In 2008, Bobby came back to the East Coast becoming the Executive Chef of the acclaimed 701 RESTAURANT located in Washington, DC. Alongside JAMES BEARD award winning restauranteur, Ashok Bajaj…Bobby was able to gain notoriety from DC LUXURY MAGAZINE and the WASHINGTON POST for his whimsical take on modern/ contemporary French cuisine.
In 2012, Bobby had the opportunity to take over one of New Jersey’s most prestigious hotels, THE MADISON HOTEL located in Morristown, New Jersey. This 200 room hotel with 20,000 sq. ft of banquet space, 2 luxury restaurants has been a New Jersey icon since the 50’s. Now as the Executive Chef, Bobby utilizes all of his training at this most elegant landmark.
He is married to his beautiful wife Jennifer Varua and is the proud father of 3 beautiful kids Owen, Grace and Sophia Varua. He resides in Flanders, New Jersey.