Chef's Profile: Chef Eric LeVine

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I'm a petite person with a big personality. And I gravitate towards other big personalities. So when I met Chef Eric LeVine I knew right away he was someone I wanted to work with whenever I could. The more I learned about him, the more I thought his story could inspire others.

Chef Eric has survived cancer five times. Yup, you read that right, FIVE times! He was given 6-8 months to live...that was about 5 years ago. But some where in that mess, he took on a theory I've also come to subscribe to. That what you eat can be your greatest medicine, or your greatest poison.

So Chef Eric went vegan. Now, the man owns a gastropub, KNOWN for it's burgers (His Bacon Eater Burger was named one of the top 100 by USA Today Travel in May) and he stops eating animal products. He did it initially for his own health, but all of a sudden, this person who cooks for a living, is having trouble finding things to eat himself when he's out. So he starts looking at his own menu, and his own kitchen. Now the food is changing, becoming healthier. Taking out additives that make things work quickly in the kitchen and doing things the healthier, though at times, more difficult way. The menu changes, offering things so people of all dietary needs can come and have a MEAL. Not steamed veggies and rice. A meal, with friends, and feel like normal people. This is how his life has shaped what he does. Chef Eric says he feels he owes it to the universe to pay forward the chance he got. He's here still, so he has to DO something with that.

Chef Eric is no longer vegan, but he is still conscious of what he eats and what he serves. He recently partnered his restaurants (there's 2 these days) with a local hydro-farm in Denville. And he procures as many local, Jersey Fresh ingredients as he can (so a handful of things come from P.A. that's still not that far in the grand scheme of food.) He also takes the time, when he can, to step out of the kitchen and talk to his customers. He wants to know the people in his dining room. He wants them to be happy. Above all, he wants to share with them his passion for food and life; and how the two are inseparable.  It's his need to live the life he got a second chance at, that touches everything he does - and it shows. 

Chef Eric's Fig & Goat Cheese Ravioli with Roast Pork Loin
Serves 4

1 package Chef Eric's Ravioli Revolution Fig & Goat Cheese Ravioli (available online by request, or substitute 12 traditional cheese ravioli)
1 pork tenderloin
1 tbs. vegetable oil
1 tbs. olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
4-5 fresh figs, stems removed, chopped
1/2 c. dry red wine
1/2 c. beef stock
1 tbs. butter
salt & pepper


Season pork loin with salt & pepper on all sides.  Pre-heat oven to 400°.  In an oven proof pan, heat 1 tbs vegetable oil until VERY hot. Sear the pork loin on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Then place in oven to roast for 12-15 minutes. Remove pork loin from oven, place on a cutting board, tent with foil and allow to rest.  

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a salute pan. Add shallot and saute' until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add in figs and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add in red wine, scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan and allow to simmer until reduced by half. Add in beef stock and simmer until reduced by half again.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook ravioli according to package instructions. 

Drain ravioli, and add to pan with fig sauce, tossing to coat. Add butter and continue to toss until melted.

Slice pork loin. Place 3-4 ravioli per plate, top with 3-4 slices of pork loin. Serve hot.

Buon Appetito!

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