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Joey Sergentakis on Cooking Around The World and His New Restaurant

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About this episode

#38. Few stories are as compelling as that of Chef Joey Sergentakis . After a decade abroad, Joey has returned to the U.S., bringing with him a wealth of international experience from some of the most prestigious kitchens around the globe.As the corporate executive chef for CE LA VI, he led restaurants in Hong Kong, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Taipei, Tokyo, and Dubai. Before this venture, Joey honed his skills with the SWIRE Group and under the tutelage of Chef Gray Kunz in Hong Kong, leaving an indelible mark on the dining scene.

His time with Philippe Rochat in Switzerland and at Restaurant Daniel with Chef Daniel Boulud in New York only further solidified his exceptional pedigree.Now, back in his home state of New Jersey, Joey is making waves with his new ventures, Boschetto and Allendale Social, where he's taking a fresh turn towards casual Italian cuisine—a stark contrast to his previous focus on Southeast Asian flavors.In a recent conversation, we delved into reminiscences about the past, the profound influence of Chef Gray, and the exciting direction of Joey's culinary artistry. It's a testament to the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of the culinary world, and a reminder of how shared experiences, even from afar, can shape a chef's unique path.

Where to find Joey Sergentakis:

Where to find host Josh Sharkey:

*Special Shoutout to Warung Rie Rie mentioned by Josh Sharkey in this episode.

What We Cover

(02:41) Background on Joey Sergentakis

(08:59) Joey's experience moving out of the U.S.

(09:40) Joey's inspiration for being a chef

(15:45) Differences and similarities between kitchens in the U.S. and kitchens across the world

(17:33) Cafe Gray Deluxe

(21:45) Mr. and Mrs. Fox

(24:07) Joey's experience in Singapore and C'est La Vie

(38:24) Boschetto and Allendale Social

(49:59) Working with Gray Kunz and Joey and Josh's biggest takeaways


[00:00:00] Josh Sharkey:

Welcome to the meez podcast. I'm your host, Josh Sharkey, the founder and CEO of meez, the culinary operating system for food professionals. On the show, I'll be interviewing world class entrepreneurs in the food space that are shifting the paradigm of how we innovate and operate in our industry. Thanks for listening, and I hope you enjoy the show.

[00:00:20] Josh Sharkey:

My guest today is back in the States after being overseas for over a decade. Chef Joey Sergentakis. Joey was most recently proud of getting back in the States, the corporate executive chef for C'est La Vie. They're based in Singapore with restaurants all around the world, like Taipei, and Tokyo, and Dubai.


And, obviously it's incredible food because it was Joey. But fun fact, they also were known for having the most expensive dinner on the planet. It was like a two million dollar dinner. It was like flying by helicopter, and there's like diamond chopsticks, and belon oysters, and you get like a two carat diamond ring.


called the Jane Seymour. Anyways, really, really opulent experience. And Joey ran the restaurants for, you know, all around the world. And prior to that, he worked for the Soiree Group and Gray Kunz. Just how I first got to know Joey. He was running Gray's restaurants in Hong Kong. He also ran Mr. Miss Fox. He spent some time working for Philippe Rochat in Switzerland.


And before heading overseas, he worked for Chef Daniel Boulud at Restaurant Daniel. So, obviously incredible. Pedigree. And Joey and I actually never met in person prior to this podcast, though we've heard about each other and talked to each other many times over the years, especially unfortunately, once Chef Gray passed away, we spent more time just reminiscing and talking about just how incredible Chef was and his influence on So we talk a lot about that today.


And we also talk about Joey's new restaurant, Boschetto. And he just opened a second restaurant called Allendale Social. So he's back in his home state of New Jersey, crushing it, opening a bunch of incredible restaurants. And this was just a really fun conversation just to reminisce. About the past, that even though we didn't spend it together, we had a lot of similarities and acquaintances that we wanted to talk about, and talked a lot about his new restaurant and his approach to casual Italian cuisine, which is a big departure from what he was doing prior, cooking a lot of Southeast Asian cuisine.


Anyways, he's an incredible guy, really humble, super talented. I had a great time, and as always, I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did.

[00:02:24] Josh Sharkey:

We're live, man. All right, cool. Cool. Good to see you, dude. Yeah, you too. Welcome to the meez podcast.

[00:02:28] Joey Sergentakis:

Thank you. Thank you. I'm happy to be here.

[00:02:31] Josh Sharkey:

I can't believe we never met in person.

[00:02:32] Joey Sergentakis:

I know. I know. It's crazy because, as you know, I worked with Chef Gray and he was talking about the team in New York and Sharkey was always one of the names he always brought up. Yeah.

[00:02:41] Josh Sharkey:

While you were in. It's great. Yeah. Well, you know, I think for the audience, maybe just like a little background on, um, How you got here? Like, where you, like, how you got to where you are today? Because you've worked for some incredible chefs, you went to a bunch of overseas, which we're going to talk about, but maybe just a little wind up for your background.

[00:02:55] Joey Sergentakis:

Yeah, sure. You know, I started off in New York, you know, I went from New York with Daniel. I, um.

[00:03:01] Josh Sharkey:

You were at Restaurant Daniel, right? For a few years, right?

[00:03:03] Joey Sergentakis:

Yeah, I was at Restaurant Daniel. Yep. Yeah, yeah. So I worked at a couple stations there. I was quite young. And, you know, after working there, I really wanted to do something different.


I wanted to work overseas. That was kind of a big goal of mine.

[00:03:17] Josh Sharkey:


[00:03:18] Joey Sergentakis:

Well, I felt like at that time I was just working at, you know, it was one of the best restaurants in the country for sure at that time. And you know, obviously it still is, but you know, I was at a point where I'm like, okay, what am I going to do next?


You know? And a lot of, there's a lot of great chefs in New York and young. you know, aspiring chefs. I'm like, what's gonna really give me something different, you know, a different kind of perspective of cooking. It's time. It's a good time for me to, you know, do something like that. Yeah.

[00:03:47] Josh Sharkey: Is that your cook?

[00:03:48] Joey Sergentakis: Yeah. That's one of the waiters. We have a great team of singers.

[00:03:51] Josh Sharkey:

Yeah. By the way, we're at your restaurant, Boschetto in Montclair. So there might be some background noise.

[00:03:59] Joey Sergentakis:

Could be some singing in the background.

[00:04:01] Josh Sharkey:

Anyways. Yeah. So yeah, you were at Daniel for three years and then how did you end up getting overseas?

[00:04:06] Joey Sergentakis:

So my cousin, well, actually my cousin married John Rella, who was a chef that used to work for Chef Gray at Lespinasse. And, um, before working at Daniel, I worked with Chef John Rella at Union Club in New York City on 69th and Park Avenue. And, uh, spent a few years with him. He actually helped me to work with Daniel because Fabrizio is the corporate chef for Daniel.


Yep. We kind of got connected. I got there and I kind of worked my way up in the team and I worked there for a few years. Chef John Rella, obviously working, you know, with Gray Kunz at Lespinasse. They had a very close relationship. And through that, I was able to meet Chef Gray, and I staged at the opening, the kind of the opening part of Cafe Gray New York.


Yep. And did a lot of stages there. I was 19 years old, I was quite young.

[00:04:58] Josh Sharkey:

That's so crazy. Yeah, yeah. I mean, we must have, I mean, Philip and I must have crossed paths.

[00:05:02] Joey Sergentakis:

No, we must have seen each other somehow. I was that young guy doing, you know, shit work in the corner, peeling shallots and stuff.

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