Chef talk: Bryan Gregg wants to bring something ‘different’ to Morristown Dining

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Chef Bryan Gregg has taken over the Blue Morel at the Westin Hotel in Morristown. Courtesy of Bryan Gregg

Chef Bryan Gregg, who in 2020 received three stars from NJM at Café Chameleon in Bloomingdale, brings southern expertise to a seafood-focused restaurant. Located in the Westin Hotel in Morristown, Blue Morel reopened in early October following a closure caused by a pandemic.

Gregg says he hopes to make micro-changes to his menu throughout the year, rather than changing it once a season.

“It’s an evolving menu that will really focus on what ingredients are available right away,” says Gregg. “We want the best quality of what we can put on the plate.”

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What attracted you to Blue Morel?
Bryan Gregg: Thomas Ciszak [in charge of food operations at Blue Morel and the Westin] has been a very good friend of mine for several years, and we always talked about doing projects together. He told me about an opportunity here, and I jumped on it because Morristown is a comfort zone for me and a lot of my clientele is in that zone. It also involved me in a hotel setting, which I had wanted to do for a while.

What did you do to prepare for the reopening?
Lots of tastings and menu development. We opened the bar menu fairly quickly, and it was open before the dining room. We had a smooth opening for hotel guests which allowed us to see what people wanted and build our dining menu around it.

How is this job different from previous positions?
It’s more of a managerial side of me. I’m trying to try to supervise things a bit more. It’s great to be a mentor and lead our team to get them excited about food and things like that.

What changes are you making to the Blue Morel menu?
Our style here doesn’t change drastically, but my style is a little more heartwarming and relaxed. I try to keep it simple and introduce some really cool flavors.

We keep the crab cakes because it’s definitely the norm here. Our menu is evolving and we will be making a lot of changes to adapt to the seasons. I’m not a big fan of changing the menu four times a year so there will be a lot of micro changes.

Tell me about some star dishes.
We always offer my burger, which is a staple that I have always offered. We will always have some kind of dish of Saint-Jacques. We do a lot of dry aging in-house with our meats, as well as some deli work. We are going to be very focused on seafood, both as a starter and as a starter.

What is competition?
Competition in the area will be the Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen and David Burke’s new venue, 1776, which just opened. I’m close to Joe Mooney at Jockey Hollow and I really like what they do there, and we do the same kind of concept.

What do you hope to bring to the community of Morristown?
We’re trying to introduce something a little different. My culinary roots are more of a southern style, so we try to introduce more of a southern aspect into our food. There aren’t a lot of people doing that here, with simple, rustic ingredients, but in a really elegant style.

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