Chef opens gourmet deli and cheese shop in New Milford

NEW MILFORD — Paige DeFeo fondly remembers growing up in her Italian grandmother Beatrice’s kitchen.

“She made the best eggplant parmigiana, and I continue to make it exactly the way she taught me,” said DeFeo, 50, a New Milford resident and personal chef for nearly 30 years.

She recently opened a gourmet charcuterie and cheese business in town called Bleu on Bank. The shop caters to entertaining people.

“My forte has always been dinner parties,” said DeFeo, a mother of two who opened the 1,800-square-foot business at 50 Bank Street with her husband John DeFeo, 52, a landscape architect for Shoreline Pools in Stamford.

The first part of the store is a showroom designed as a living room and a dining room. It’s stocked with platters, cutting boards, cocktail napkins, glasses, plates, and chef’s knives.

All items are for sale.

The second part of the shop offers the delicatessen foods, such as caviar, dried fruits and nuts, mustard, jam, honey, crab cakes, cheese and pate, as well as curry, kale slaw, bacon-wrapped dates and truffle ricotta spread. .

There are also olives, capers, bread, crackers, halva, dark chocolate, quiches, salads and soups.

“We’re going to make a French Onion Soup Grilled Cheese,” DeFeo said. “You sauté the onions like you would a French onion soup. We will accompany this with a bisque of roasted basil and tomatoes.

It also offers Italian, Moroccan, Indian and Spanish inspired platters. She said she traveled a lot and learned international cuisine.

The boutique sources its cheeses, produce and vegetables from local farms.

Bleu on Bank staff can either prepare charcuterie boards for customers, or customers can purchase the items that go on the boards to prepare at home.

Customers can order trays which will be available the same day. They can also buy filled baskets to bring when they are invited to other people’s homes.

Prior to opening the business, DeFeo received a $1,400 facade improvement grant from the New Milford Economic Development Corporation.

Grants are available to New Milford businesses and owners of commercial properties located in the center of the village for the improvement of business facades. Upgrades can include new doors, painting, repairing walls and windows, and other types of upgrades that will beautify the village.

Bleu on Bank is located at the location of Ruby Bridal Boutique, which has closed permanently.

“We gutted and completely redid the whole store,” DeFeo said.

To go up

Prior to becoming a chef, DeFeo was a wardrobe stylist for clothing commercials, print jobs and films in Manhattan and Los Angeles.

“I married both,” DeFeo said, referring to the two components in his shop.

In 1997, she graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan with a professional culinary degree. After working in a restaurant during her one-year internship, she jumped right into the business of private celebrity chef – and catering.

She plans to continue working as a personal chef on a freelance basis.

When working for celebrity clients, she said she was often asked to cook specific meals “on a whim.”

She accommodated people with special diets, such as raw, gluten-free and vegan, and those with specific blood types, heart disease and diabetes.

“I would have their nutritionist contact me directly, and then I would cook within my parameters,” she said.

DeFeo moved to New Milford three years ago and said she fell in love with the town.

“It’s very charming and typical of New England,” she said.

She said it was time to open the shop and she was ready to try a new business. Since she lives far from New York, the Hamptons and Greenwich where her clients are located, she chose to open a business near her home.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” DeFeo said. “I wanted to have something of my own.”

Bleu on Bank at 50 Bank Street can be reached at 860-799-7679.

[email protected] 203-948-9802

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