Executive Chef, Corey W. Heyer
Although Corey Heyer realized his passion for cooking and fine cuisine at a young age, his future became clear at age 19 when he decided to dedicate himself to becoming a Chef. After spending a year learning the basics of the culinary world at Mistral’s in Manchester, VT, Corey returned to New Jersey to work at the Bluffs in his hometown of Bay Head, NJ. Although he was quickly promoted to Sous Chef, Corey decided it was time to enroll at the Culinary Institute of America where he could build a strong foundation for his career.
While attending school, Corey fulfilled his externship at The Frog and the Peach in New Brunswick, NJ, and also had the good fortune of working at Restaurant Daniel in NYC under the world renowned Chef Daniel Boulud. In 1996, Corey graduated with high honors and dreams of becoming a top chef.
Following his graduation, Corey worked at the Fromagerie in Rumson, NJ. With hard work and determination, he obtained the Executive Chef position after just one year. During his four years at the highly acclaimed restaurant, it earned the distinction as one of “America’s Top Tables” from Gourmet, “The Best of the Best” and “Best French” in the New Jersey Monthly’s reader’s choice awards, AAA’s Four Diamond award, as well as Mobil’s Four Star award. Chef Heyer also had the honor and privilege of hosting two James Beard dinners for both Julia Child and Jacques Pepin.
Although Chef Heyer enjoyed a very rewarding tenure at the Fromagerie, he resigned in order to broaden his horizons and hone his skills in New York City. In search of the finest kitchens and most diverse ventures, Corey chose to work under such great chefs as Jean-Georges Vongerichten in his namesake restaurant as well as Vong and Mercer Kitchen, and Tom Colicchio at Gramercy Tavern. Corey also spent time working with other celebrated chefs such as Wayne Nish at March, Rocco DiSpirito at Union Pacific and Floyd Cardoz at Tabla, to name a few.
While he learned a tremendous amount at each restaurant, his journey once again led him back to New Jersey after being sought out as the opening chef of Restaurant Nicholas in Middletown. Within the first year of opening, and consistently for the next four years, Chef Heyer garnered four star reviews and accolades from The New York Times, The Star Ledger, New Jersey Monthly, The Asbury Park Press and the Zagat Survey. He once again achieved “Best of the Best” status in the eyes of New Jersey Monthly’s readers for three years in addition to “Best New American” cuisine.
Upon arriving at The Bernards Inn in 2004, Chef Heyer earned four stars from The Star-Ledger with a headline of “The Bernards Inn Improves on Perfection” and named The Bernards Inn to the Top 10 Restaurants for 2004. The Artful Diner also named The Bernards Inn to the Top Ten in that year with these accolades: “There is no question that The Bernards Inn is one of the most romantically imbued culinary experiences the Garden State has to offer…Chef Corey Heyer’s contemporary American cuisine is like the sophisticated surroundings, stylish but decidedly understated.” The Courier News also bestowed a four-star rating saying: “The Bernards Inn is in a League of Their Own.”
Over the years, Corey Heyer has also been featured in GQ Magazine, New Jersey Countryside, as well as on News 12 New Jersey. The James Beard Foundation has recognized him for “Outstanding Contributions,” and he enjoys directing his culinary efforts to other worthy causes such as A Dinner of Hope, the American Heart Association and the New Jersey Battered Women’s Association.
Chef Heyer’s inspiration has always remained with the seasonal ingredients he obtains at the peak of their freshness from local purveyors, along with the satisfaction of creating the most enjoyable experience for each guest at The Bernards Inn.
Corey resides in Bernardsville, NJ, with his wife, Donna, and two sons.