From menu changes to commanding respect in a male-dominated industry, Toni Charmello is mixing it up at Sea Bright’s Drifthouse.
By Maggie Leenas | | March 14, 2022
Over the past year, Chef Toni Charmello has made her mark as the fearless leader in the kitchen of Drifthouse by David Burke. Before working at the Sea Bright restaurant, Charmello cooked in Princeton and in New York City, where she gained her knowledge of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.
As a female chef in a male-dominated industry, Charmello knows the importance of gaining respect in the kitchen—and, that on occasion, it can be difficult to achieve.
“There was one issue with an entry-level cook who said, ‘I don’t know if I can accept a female chef,’” Charmello says. “It’s like, ‘Well, then, you’re not going to be successful here if you can’t accept that.’”
From the start, Charmello jumped in and made changes with an extremely accepting and ready-to-learn staff. This month she celebrates her one-year anniversary at Drifthouse.