This is the first of a bi-weekly series, “International Flavors of Valley Stream,” that highlights food establishments that offer authentic cuisine from other countries’ cultures. Enjoy!
A new restaurant opened on Rockaway Avenue on Tuesday that adds a new dimension to Valley Stream’s dining landscape. Truffle, which replaced La Bistecca at 410 Rockaway Ave., is the realization of its owner’s long-held dream, and its menu is a product of his culinary tourism around the world.
Raed Jallad (pronounced “REED”) was born in Kuwait, one of eight siblings. His five sisters regularly spent time in the kitchen with their mother, but he was the only son to take an interest in how she flavored and cooked the family’s food. At 20, Jallad moved to the U.S. from Jordan to study business administration at Essex County College in Newark, N.J., but fell into financial trouble and got a job at a deli in Manhattan’s West Village. “At that time, the situation was a little difficult … I couldn’t contact my family,” he said. “I stopped going to school to support myself.”
He worked long hours, and his interest in food preparation was rekindled. Jallad eventually saved enough money to buy his own deli in Queens in 1996. He also worked as a restaurant’s busboy, learning about that industry from the inside. He returned to school in 2002, earning a degree in management and culinary arts from Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School. That led to two prestigious chef positions, at the Garden City and Allegria hotels on Long Island.
The hours were crushing, with Jallad sometimes working seven days per week and more than 10 hours on some days. When he took vacations, he traveled to other countries and sampled the local cuisine, taking notes along the way.
After years of running kitchens, Jallad began to feel burnout setting in. He left the kitchen and took a year off. His dream of working for himself didn’t fade, though, and he started considering locations for his own restaurant.