Itâ€™s one of those exquisite opportunities when snooping is accepted, even encouraged. Just donâ€™t try and go past the velvet ropes. When â€œA Taste of Glen Ridge: A Gourmet Kitchen Tourâ€ gets underway this Thursday at 10 a.m., owners of eleven homes (six located on â€“ surprise! â€“ Ridgewood Avenue) will graciously allow strangers to peek inside cabinets, open utensil drawers and check the fine vintages inside wine refrigerators. You almost expect to hear the rallying cry â€“ Ladies, start your Vikings â€“ since so many of the kitchens feature professional-quality cooktops and ranges.
Although the tour focuses on kitchens, the rooms along the way have to look as good as the main course. Thatâ€™s why Diane Stathis, of D. Redding Design in Essex Fells, was on hand to assist Maureen Hausmann in â€œstagingâ€ her living and dining rooms. With new rugs still in plastic and window treatments waiting to be hung, the last-minute primping hysteria was worthy of an episode of â€œTrading Spaces.â€
Besides engaging in the requisite kitchen envy, visitors on the tour can enjoy the ultimate in free samples â€“ culinary specialties served up by local chefs and caterers from Glen Ridge and Montclair. In Hausmannâ€™s kitchen (pictured above), Palazzoâ€™s John Giglio will serve a signature dish of portabello mushrooms, roasted red peppers and goat cheese. At the home of Steve and Mary Lee, chefs from Dolce Bistro, Montclairâ€™s newest addition on Walnut Street, are rumored to be pulling out all the stops, with an array of creations including ostrich. Cynthia De Persio, pastry chef at Fascino, will round out the tour by whipping up something sweet.
The true stars of the tour are the homes. Leeâ€™s is an architectural tribute to the Arts-and-Crafts movement with woodwork galore and exposed beams. The kitchen (above) with its Mission-style cabinetry, leaded glass accents and honed granite counters, makes a seamless transition from old to new. To feast your eyes and meet the designers/contractors responsible for these high-end kitchens, stop at the hospitality center at the Glen Ridge train station on Ridgewood Ave. Tickets are $45; 100% of the proceeds will be used to benefit the Glen Ridge Public Schools. As Martha would say, “it’s a good thing.”