—Chef Carlos Valdez of Oceanaire Hackensack was crowned the winner of the 2015 Ultimate Chef Bergen County competition on January 24, 2015.
The competition hosts three rounds, where each chef must prepare a four-course meal using a mystery ingredient. During the first round of competition, Chef Valdez took on Chef Giuseppe Lentini of Grissini in Eaglewood Cliffs with the mystery ingredient being mangos. He dominated over his opponent by preparing napa cabbage and duck confit salad, king crab and jumbo shrimp in curry coconut mango, pulled pork & seared tuna and pickled mango cheesecake with pretzel crust. Entering the final round of competition, Chef Valdez competed against fellow Landry’s rival Chef Aldo Diaz of Morton’s in Hackensack with the mystery ingredient being olives. He prepared a delicious four-course sampling of vegetables nicoise, lobster & olive bread pudding, seafood sausage and double olive cake.
Chef Carlos Valdez’s culinary career has taken him from coast to coast and around the globe – where he has worked under some of the world’s top chefs. A graduate of Johnson & Wales College of Culinary Arts, Carlos apprenticed in Europe under renowned Master Chef Graham Tinsley at Castle Hotel Conwy, a Michelin starred brasserie. After returning to the United States, Carlos spent eight years with the acclaimed Hillstone Restaurant Group, working from New York City to Napa Valley. After a stint at Halcyon Seafood Brasserie in Montclair, New Jersey, Carlos opened his own restaurant, the Red Hen Bistro a French-American café in Wood-Ridge, New Jersey.
Carlos brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to The Oceanaire in Riverside Square. As Executive Chef, he is committed to fresh, seasonal ingredients – from the menu to the raw bar. Carlos’ aspiration is to provide a moving experience every day, with a broad menu for the local foodies, gourmands and locavores.
The Oceanaire provides the perfect setting to enjoy the freshest seafood flown in daily from around the world. The Oceanaire’s knowledgeable staff provides guests with exceptional service by guiding them through the wide variety of items on the menu and selecting the perfect wine to complement any meal.
The Oceanaire is located at 175 Riverside Square Mall, where guests can enjoy happy hour, lunch, dinner or the all new Sunday brunch. The hours of operation are: Monday 5 PM – 10 PM, Tuesday – Thursday 11:30 AM – 10 PM, Friday & Saturday 11:30 AM – 11 PM and Sunday Noon – 9 PM. For more information about The Oceanaire or to make reservations, please visit or call 201-343-8862.

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About Landry’s, Inc.
Landry’s, Inc., wholly owned by Tilman J. Fertitta, is a multinational, diversified restaurant, hospitality, gaming and entertainment company based in Houston, Texas. The company operates more than 500 high-end and casual dining establishments around the world, including well-known concepts such as Landry’s Seafood, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Rainforest Cafe, Morton’s The Steakhouse, The Oceanaire, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood, Chart House, Saltgrass Steak House, Claim Jumper and Mastro’s Restaurants. Landry’s also operates a group of signature restaurants, including Vic & Anthony's, Grotto, Willie G's and others. Landry’s gaming division includes the renowned Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino concept, with locations in Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nev.; Atlantic City, N.J.; and Biloxi, Miss., with a fifth location coming to Lake Charles, La. in 2014. Landry’s entertainment and hospitality divisions encompass popular destinations including the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, Kemah Boardwalk, Aquarium Restaurants and other exciting attractions, coupled with deluxe accommodations throughout the Houston and Galveston area, including the luxurious San Luis Resort, Spa & Conference Center on Galveston Island.


Katelyn Roche/
Dancie Perugini Ware
Public Relations