With equal parts of hard work and a great education, and a heaping spoonful of determination, Joseph Zazzarino has discovered the perfect recipe for success.
Over the last 25 years, Zazzarino’s passion for the restaurant industry has led him to work as a kitchen manager, executive chef, area director, and owner of three different restaurants. Now, he is the proud owner of Personal Cooking and Catering by Zazz, bringing fantastic meals to homes throughout New Jersey.
Zazzarino’s interest in cooking began at an early age, which prompted him to enroll in the Culinary Arts program at Monmouth County Vocational School District (MCVSD). While studying in the program, he continued developing his skills and charting his next steps.
“The education I received from this program was instrumental in the start of my career,” said Zazzarino, a Keansburg native. “The program gave me all the hands-on tools I needed to be able to execute in college at a high level.”
After graduating from the MCVSD Culinary Arts program in 1997, Zazzarino continued his education at Johnson and Wales University, earning an Associate of Science degree in 1999. He said he was motivated to attend college and keep pursuing his career dreams due to the support of his MCVSD instructors.
“The chefs at MCVSD understood that I learned differently than other high school students,” said Zazzarino. He added that their encouragement and assistance helped him get out of a tough personal situation, which ultimately changed his demeanor and elevated his confidence.
Zazzarino is grateful for his education and now pays it forward. He has mentored and trained many young people over the years and currently works in addition to his catering businesses at MCVSD as a Chef Instructor.
“Now that I am where it all began, I can only hope that I can put the students who are in my classes in a better position moving forward in life so they too can be successful,” said Zazzarino.