By Anthony J. Machcinski
Despite “For Lease” signs on its front windows, JohnClaude Exclusive Catering is still in business.
“We’re caterers and that’s what we want to do,” explained coowner John Martello. Martello and fellow owner Claude Persico closed the retail end of the store to focus on their catering.
Martello’s passion for cooking formed from his childhood, where he was surrounded by cooking.
“I’ve been around it my whole life,” Martello said. “All my family and friends did it.”
As for what has kept him in the business, Martello said, “I like to please people. Food is instant gratification. I like to make people smile.”
Martello, a Staten Island, N.Y. resident, chose North Arlington for his business because of its proximity to major metropolitan areas.
“Being in North Arlington gets me to the essential spots,” Martello explained. “I can get my drivers to the major roads quicker and get them where they need to go.”
Martello has built a foundation for great food with twenty years of experience in the food business, working his way up the ladder from simply preparing food at 15 to becoming an executive chef at 18.
Martello’s career would take him through Johnson & Wales, where he graduated with a degree in Business. Martello then went on to own The Gas Light Restaurant in Hoboken before choosing a career in catering in 2007.
Now entrenched at 20 Ridge Road in North Arlington, Martello takes pride in all of his work.
“We’ve done thousands of events,” Martello said. “I take pride in anything, from catering to 10 people to an event for 10,000 people (referring to an event John Claude catered for Bear Stearns).”
John Claude’s culinary background is just as varied as the size of the events they cater. From American, Italian, French, Oriental Fusion, Spanish, and Mexican, Martello said, “There’s not one particular thing that we do. Throw it on my plate and I’ll do it. I take pride in all of it.”
While Martello loves to simply cook any style of meal, he has two styles that he prefers to eat.
“Probably Italian or Steak,” Martello explained when asked what his favorite meal to consume was. “I love steaks. I like a good bone and rib-eye.”
JohnClaude Exclusive Catering is located at 20 Ridge Road in North Arlington. For catering inquiries, call (201)-998-0039 or visit their website at www.jcexclusivecatering. com.