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Home Celebrity Dining Celebrity Dining: Is Gordon Ramsay in Toms River? Maybe, and here’s why

Celebrity Dining: Is Gordon Ramsay in Toms River? Maybe, and here’s why

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Celebrity Dining: Is Gordon Ramsay in Toms River? Maybe, and here’s why

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Chef Patty Caneda shares the memories of her grandmother’s Cuban food through her empanadas at Caneda’s in Toms River.
STAFF VIDEO BY THOMAS P. COSTELLO

Rumor has it celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is in town. 

It was reported Oct. 10 by Toms River Patch that television producers for an unnamed restaurant renovation show had put out a call for diners to participate in an episode. Within hours, all spots had been filled. 

Over the weekend, rumors swirled that the show was Gordon Ramsay’s “24 Hours to Hell and Back,” which runs on Fox and is in its third season, and that filming was taking place at The White Rooster, a Cuban restaurant on Fischer Boulevard owned by Patty Caneda. Nearby Shelter Cove is reportedly filled with tented areas and production equipment.

A Fox representative could not officially confirm that the show was in production in Toms River, and Caneda, citing contractual agreements, could not provide any details. But the restaurateur has hinted at changes coming to her restaurant on social media, saying The White Rooster would be closed Oct. 12 to 15 “for some incredible changes and evolution.”

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Ramsay, a British chef known for his no-holds-barred attitude and work on “MasterChef,” “MasterChef Jr.” and “Hell’s Kitchen,” among other programs, has two restaurants in New Jersey, Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill and Gordon Ramsay Steak in Atlantic City.

On “24 Hours to Hell and Back,” as described by Fox, “Chef Gordon Ramsay tries to bring struggling restaurants back from disaster – in just 24 hours.”

The White Rooster, owned by Caneda and local investor Jeremy Grunin, opened in August 2018 in the space previously occupied by Italian restaurant Rivoli’s. The restaurant, which has a liquor license and an outdoor patio, is Caneda’s second; she previously owned Caneda’s Empanada’s, also on Fischer Boulevard, which can be seen in the video above. 

Looking back: Rivoli’s in Toms River closes, Cuban restaurant to open

More: A look at the sensory friendly dining room at Riv’s Toms River Hub

“My grandparents came here from Cuba in 1958 and brought so much of the culture to our household,” Caneda, an Island Heights resident, told The Asbury Park Press earlier this year. “We only ever ate Cuban home-cooked specialties and we had roosters and chickens in our backyard, which was a memorable scene amid the sound of trains going back and forth to New York City.”

On Sundays, she recalled, “my grandfather would dress to the nines and take me with him to the bakery, butcher and food market to get all of our bread, meat and produce for the week. All that time, I was absorbing something really beautiful and participating in the creation of meals that were all about family.”

This story will be updated as more details become available. 

Sarah Griesemer joined the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey more than 15 years ago and has held a variety of positions since, but the work she does now is her favorite: food writing. Her favorite stories to write are the ones that make a difference for the Shore’s mom and pop restaurants. Write to her at sgriesemer@gannettnj.com and follow @jersey.shore.eats.

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