Edison’s native cooking talent draws award-winning chefs and TV personalities

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PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPH BY NICOLE GUGLIELMO

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PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPH BY NICOLE GUGLIELMO

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PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPH BY NICOLE GUGLIELMO


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PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPH BY NICOLE GUGLIELMO

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PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPH BY NICOLE GUGLIELMO

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PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPH BY NICOLE GUGLIELMO


EDISON – Mary Abitanto’s talent in the kitchen has caught the attention of award-winning chefs and television personalities including David Burke and Graham Elliot.

Burke, an award-winning chef and restaurateur known for appearing on the reality TV show “Iron Chef America”, endorsed Abitanto’s latest cookbook, “Gather For The Holidays,” which launched in October.

Other mentions include Joanne Mosconi, chef and author of “The Chef of Greenwich Village” and champion “Chopped,” and chef and cookbook author Kenneth Temple, who shares his award-winning pie crust recipe in the ‘Abitanto.

“I left nothing to be desired in the book,” said Abitanto, “delicious appetizers, cocktails and hot festive drinks, pre-prepared meals like my tasty sweet potato casserole and bread stuffing with Gruyère to main courses like homemade manicotti, beef tenderloin encrusted with garlic, and of course the cookies section, which offers over 10 cookie recipes, including the most irresistible Santa and Mrs. Claus cookies.

“Gather for the Holidays” is Abitanto’s third cookbook and it celebrates the holidays in style with heartfelt stories, poems and photographs. She welcomes people to her home and rustic surroundings to share her holiday traditions and entertainment, plus time-saving and style tips.

“My favorite recipe in (my new cookbook) is my sweet potato casserole, by far one of the best Thanksgiving and holiday sides,” she said.

Vintage and mercury glass chandeliers, fresh eucalyptus and red roses adorn the Abitanto dining room table and inspire entertainment ideas. Readers can also collect food board ideas to elevate the holiday season.

Abitanto, who grew up in Edison and went to high school JP Stevens, said his first cookbook, “The Food That Will Bring Your Family Together,” published in 2017, contained recipes in the Maria Shriver Sunday Paper.

“Maria even ran the cookbook while taking a picture with me and my daughter, Sydney, at NBC studios,” she recalls. “This was broadcast on live TV before COVID. It was a very kind gesture and one that I very much appreciated. In this book you will find family favorites like eggplant, meatballs, grandma’s homemade bread, my world famous banana bread, ricotta cheesecake, delicious soups and many family dinners.

Prior to launching her second cookbook, Abitanto released a children’s book, “Rebecca’s Secret” in June 2020 via Amazon.

“I was very impressed with the quality of the publication and decided to create my second cookbook,” she said.

His second cookbook, “Food From My Heart & Home”, was launched in November 2020.

“I really took my talent to the next level with creative combinations and wine pairings like my lavender infused cheesecake and my smoked gouda butternut squash mac and cheese,” said Abitanto.

“I also explore other cultures in this book and have recipes like homemade naan, a sesame-coated Middle Eastern cookie filled with dates, Moroccan soup and tons of healthy recipes,” a- she declared.

Book mentions for her second cookbook include Princeton culinary expert Raoul Momo; Christie Brinkley, entrepreneur / model and owner of Bellissima Prosecco; women’s fitness expert Denise Austin; and Chief Graham Elliot.

Abitanto is very active on Instagram @marioochcooks where she shares her many beautifully stylish dishes.

It has over 21,000 subscribers, including Giadzy, a website by Giada de Laurentis of the Food Network, and caught Saveur magazine with its healthy penne alfredo made with cauliflower in rice and white beans.

She also shares recipes on her blog mariochskitchen.com

Abitanto attributes his creativity and ingenuity in the kitchen to his volunteer work at Homefront, a homeless shelter, teaching residents how to cook.

“Not only have I used this talent to write cookbooks, but I’ve also been an opening chef for celebrity chefs and cookbook authors Graham Elliot, Anne Burrell, Daphne Oz and Sasha Pieterse at Great Food Expo, ”she said. “I’m talking about cooking and sharing recipes, giving gifts and involving the audience. It’s something that I love to do. I like a good crowd.

The Great Food Expo was held at the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center in Edison.

Abitanto’s books, including his latest cookbook, are available on Amazon.


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