Thursday, September 23, 2021

Person of the Week

Chef Stellato Helps Bring Farm to Table in Fundraiser for North Haven Organizations

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Steven Stellato, owner of Stellato’s Deli and Catering, will be the head chef for the upcoming farm-to-table fundraiser dinner to benefit the historical society and the Daytime Gardeners. Photo courtesy of Steven Stellato

Steven Stellato, owner of Stellato’s Deli and Catering, will be the head chef for the upcoming farm-to-table fundraiser dinner to benefit the historical society and the Daytime Gardeners. (Photo courtesy of Steven Stellato)

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Steven Stellato, owner of Stellato’s Deli and Catering, will be the head chef for the upcoming farm-to-table fundraiser dinner to benefit the historical society and the Daytime Gardeners. Photo courtesy of Steven Stellato

Steven Stellato, owner of Stellato’s Deli and Catering, will be the head chef for the upcoming farm-to-table fundraiser dinner to benefit the historical society and the Daytime Gardeners. (Photo courtesy of Steven Stellato)

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Steven Stellato, owner of Stellato’s Deli and Catering, will be the head chef for the upcoming farm-to-table fundraiser dinner to benefit the historical society and the Daytime Gardeners. 

Photo courtesy of Steven Stellato

Steven Stellato, owner of Stellato’s Deli and Catering, will be the head chef for the upcoming farm-to-table fundraiser dinner to benefit the historical society and the Daytime Gardeners. (Photo courtesy of Steven Stellato)

Throughout his life, Steven Stellato has given back to his community in any way he could. Growing up in an Italian family, Steven also was born with a passion for cooking. He is now combining both of those things as he and Jill DeChello of North Haven Magazine will be creating and cooking for a farm-to-table dinner fundraiser to benefit the North Haven Historical Society and the Daytime Gardeners of North Haven.

“Jill approached me with the idea a couple years ago and I participated, though we couldn’t have it last year due to COVID,” says Steven. “It’s a great idea and I was excited to join in on it. I love to cook and I love to help people out so it’s a win-win.”

The dinner will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 11 (rain date Thursday, Aug. 12) from 5:15 to 7:30 p.m. at the Brockett Farm, 93 Arrowdale Rd., North Haven. Dinner will be served at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are $60 a person and a limited number of tickets are available. Attire is country casual.

The farm-to-table fundraiser was a welcome idea for Steven as he tries to incorporate that concept into his menus as much as possible. Steven has owned Stellato’s Deli and Catering in North Haven for the past decade, celebrating the deli’s 10-year anniversary this past January.

“I’m a farm-to-table guy myself,” says Steven. “At the restaurant, I try to use local ingredients wherever possible, especially in the summer when I can get produce from local farms.”

Growing up in Guilford, Steven has always had an appreciation for local farms. He also remembers watching his grandparents cook when he was young and the importance of making things from scratch, something he tries to do as often as possible at Stellato’s.

With a lifelong love of food, Steven began working in the restaurant industry at age 16, though he had never thought of starting his own place. About 11 years ago, Steven lost his job and a conversation with his father gave him the inspiration he needed to begin his own business and memories of his grandparents influenced his menu.

“I was trying to figure out what to do and I had my father over for dinner and he said, ‘This is really good – you should open a restaurant’,” says Steven. “I didn’t think I had enough experience for a full sit-down place and I thought the deli would be the next best thing. My grandparents passed away when I was in my teens, but I remember those flavors of what they used to make and try to replicate that. Those tastebud memories are the base of what I do and put my own twist on it. Over the past 10 years, I’ve honed in skills and you can taste that and see the reflection in how busy we are.”

There will be a nod to Steven’s Italian roots at the Aug. 11 farm-to-table dinner as he and DeChello are planning to create a pasta primavera with chicken as the main course. The dish will feature fresh, local produce. Guests will enjoy their dinner on the grounds of the Brockett Farm, which also features a tractor display, farm museum, and woodworking shop.

“Brockett Farm is a really neat place and does a great job with the setup of the tables and the atmosphere,” says Steven. “With so many people being vaccinated, this year’s event should be as close to normal as possible so it will be great to see.”

At the first dinner two years ago, the pair created the entire meal from appetizers to dessert on their own. This year, DeChello enlisted the support of other local businesses, including CT Chowder Company, Colony Diner, Liuzzi Gourmet Food Market, Sylvia’s Confection Connection, and Stop & Shop, which will help with the other courses.

Steven first met DeChello through his deli when she approached him to help with the first farm-to-table dinner. Steven enjoyed the partnership so much that he was quick to say yes that fall when she then asked him to take part in a chili cook-off fundraiser that saw Steven’s chili win the popular vote.

“She’s an amazing woman with lots of energy – she’s a great cook herself, too,” says Steven. “She does a lot of charity things in town and it’s wonderful to see.”

Though Steven currently lives in New Haven, he has become engrained in the North Haven community over the past decade through his restaurant. When he first opened, he was drawn to the town by its atmosphere as well as its Italian influence.

Over the years, Steven has gotten to know many of the people in town and work with a number of community organizations. When COVID first hit, he admits that the business took a “huge hit” and the first couple months of the pandemic were “very frightening.”

Soon, though, the CDC and the town began to urge residents to support local businesses with takeout and Steven adjusted to meet the needs of the community by offering family take-home dinner.

“It slowly got better and better and busier and busier and busier and with so many people working from home, we got a lot of new faces in with the people who live in town,” says Steven. “As things started to slowly open up, the new faces stayed and the old faces started to come back and now we’re busier than ever.”

Though giving back to the community has always been important to Steven, he is now more excited than ever to do what he can to help the Town of North Haven and its residents. Steven even hopes to move to town in the future.

“My job as a business owner in town is to give back to the community that supports me,” says Steven. “I want to support them as well and help out where I can.”

The dinner will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 11 (rain date Thursday, Aug. 12) from 5:15 to 7:30 p.m. at the Brockett Farm, 93 Arrowdale Rd., North Haven. Event sponsors include North Haven Magazine, Stellato’s Deli and Catering, CT Chowder Company, Colony Diner, Liuzzi Gourmet Food Market, Sylvia’s Confection Connection, and Stop & Shop. For tickets ($60), mail a check to North Haven Historical Society, 27 Broadway, North Haven, CT 06473.



Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .

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