Let’s just start by saying that Valentine’s Day is not a particularly romantic night to eat in a restaurant. It’s crowded, it’s often overpriced, it’s hard to get a reservation to begin with.
Not even a year into his tenure as executive chef and co-owner of the Saddle River Inn, Jamie Knott is the happiest he’s ever been. The 33-year-old father of three took over the venerated 3 1/2-star Saddle River Inn with general manager David Madison this past February after spending time as a corporate executive chef with Esquared Hospitality, which runs the BLT restaurants, and as executive chef of Terrance Brennan’s Artisanal and of China Grill, both in Manhattan. Knott grew up in and is currently a resident of Nutley. Here he discloses the most he has ever paid for a meal, what goes into making his caprese salad and his current favorite dish at the Saddle River Inn.