Chadwick’s Restaurant is known as one of Brooklyn’s finest kitchens. Located at 8822 Third Avenue in Bay Ridge, the restaurant is overseen by Executive Chef Zack Stapelman.
At the young age of twenty-six, he has already demonstrated he is the man for the job by winning the Great Big Bacon Picnic that took place last fall at the old Pfizer factory in South Williamsburg.
The winning entry was Stapelman’s Bacon Bahn Mi Crostini, a play on French and Vietnamese cuisine. The competition was judge in three different sessions: deliciousness, presentation and creativity; and each session awarded a different winner. Stapelman’s Bacon Bahn Mi Crostini won for deliciousness. He says “it was the first time for me to take my food, my idea, and bring it to life and serve it to thousands of people. To get that kind of response straight out of the gate was just amazing.”
Stapelman was born and raised in East Flatbush to a family of chefs. His father did macrobiotic and healthy cooking during the ’60s and ’70s and his brother is the owner of a restaurant in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which was listed as one of the top‐50 restaurants in the country by Forbes magazine in 1992.
“So for my whole life, I’ve always just been around cooking, and food has been a focal point of family. When I think about family, I think of dinners. When we get together and have the whole family together, we’re either eating or watching TV, and the most memorable things revolve around eating, because you get to talk and interact with people.” Stapelman explains.
He realized his future would be working in a kitchen while at his first job. Stapelman was 17 years old and working as a dishwasher at a restaurant called the Fish Market, a raw bar and burger joint in the South Street Seaport. He would wash dishes from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. six nights a week When one of the cooks didn’t show up for work one day, Stapelman saw it as his opportunity to approach the chef and ask to fill in.
Six months after this realization, Stapelman started working at Torrisi Italian Specialties, which was located at Mulberry and Prince Street. There, he got trained by two talented chefs, Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone, in what he describes as a “culinary boot camp.” They taught him how to create exquisite, elaborate plates full of flavor.
Stapelman has worked in other restaurants over the years honing his craft, including the now‐shuttered Low Country Greenwich.
Fast-forward to a year ago, when he started working at Chadwick’s. It all happened thanks to a recommendation from Sean Quinn, an award-winning chef on “Chopped,” the popular Food Network cooking show.
Stapelman feels like he’s found a new home at Chadwick’s, and praises owners Steven Oliver and Gerry Morris for making him feel welcome and giving him the opportunity to be creative in the kitchen. Stapelman adds, “They’ve put a lot of trust in me which allows me to test and try out all kinds of new dishes. They’ve allowed me to expand the flavor profiles of the typical dishes we serve here. And so far, the menu has received a warm response from our regulars and new customers alike.”