About the Chefs
Brian J. Alberg
Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director,
The Red Lion Inn, Stockbridge, MA
Chef Brian Alberg is a native of Copake, NY, in the Berkshire foothills of neighboring Columbia County, where he began his culinary career as an apprentice at the former l’Hostelierre Bressane. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. in 1987, he oversaw the kitchens in a number of high-profile Berkshire area restaurants earlier in his career, first as head chef at the Underhill Inn in Hillsdale, NY, and later at the 1780 Egremont Inn in South Egremont and the Old Inn on the Green in New Marlborough. He left the area in 1993 to become Executive Chef at Dudley’s Restaurant in Westchester, NY, where he earned a “Very Good” rating from the New York Times and made the first appearance at the James Beard House. Alberg went on to work as executive chef and later Director of Food & Beverage at the Old Saybrook Inn & Spa, a AAA Four-Diamond property, where he was honored for the first time at the James Beard Foundation. Alberg then moved into the corporate world with Marriott where he helped open a number of hotels as well as create a Mediterranean Menu with recipes and training information that was distributed to Marriott and Renaissance Hotels across the globe. Alberg began his tenure at The Red Lion Inn in July of 2004. He is a member of the James Beard Foundation and is on the Board of Directors of Berkshire Grown, an organization dedicated to promoting the support of local farming and strengthening the relationships between local farmers and restaurants. He also serves on the board of the Railroad Street Youth Project to provide young people with the opportunity to explore the culinary arts alongside a professional chef. Alberg has appeared on Good Morning America, Chronicle, NECN’s TV Diner with Billy Costa, Albany (NY) News Channel 13 and WGBY’s On the Menu! (Springfield, MA) and in The Boston Globe, Hudson Valley Magazine and Gastronomica. Alberg resides in Kinderhook, NY.
Brian Alberg photo courtesy of Caroline Alexander of Berkshire Food Journal
Lester Blumenthal, Owner/Chef, Route 7 Grill,
Great Barrington, MA
Lester Blumenthal started life in Brooklyn, NY. A graduate of Stuyvesant High School and Hamilton College, he learned early on about the beauties of Berkshire County (camp for a 10-12 year old has lasting effects). A self proclaimed “foodie” and commercial design industry entrepreneur and executive, he decided to trade in his real job for a chance to root himself into the local community and work with local farmers and suppliers. A new restaurant is born — Route 7 Grill — with a true spirit of local. “I’ve lived in the Berkshires for 12 years and have always hankered for a casual, accessible restaurant and bar with great food that takes advantage of the local bounty – unbeatable produce and lovingly raised livestock and poultry. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to put together a committed, experienced team to make it happen.”
Chef Daniel Hardy, Allium Restaurant + Bar/
Mezze Restaurant Group, Great Barrington, MA
Daniel Hardy is an accomplished chef with more than 17 years of experience in the culinary arts. Having moved from Montana to the east coast to lead the Mezze Catering kitchen in 2010, Hardy is now heading up the Allium Restaurant kitchen and working hand in hand with Mezze Restaurant Group. Dan received his culinary arts degree from Western Culinary Institute in Portland, OR, in 1995. He began his career at Signal Mountain Lodge in Wyoming, managing two seasonal restaurants, and then moved on to become executive chef at The Old Yellowstone Garage in Jackson, WY. In this position, Hardy developed a creative menu for the northern Italian restaurant, which utilized only the highest-quality ingredients. After several years working in the ‘garage’, Hardy moved to Seattle as a key member of the start-up team for Volterra, an Italian concept restaurant, which earned “Best New Restaurant” from Seattle Weekly in 2005. After opening Volterra, Hardy relocated to Livingston, MT, where he started his own company, Second Street Catering, and ran the business as chief financial officer, manager and executive chef. His recipes have been published in cookbooks and magazines, and many restaurants where he worked received national recognition during his tenure. Food & Wine, Wine Spectator, Skiing Magazine and Sunset Magazine have all recognized Hardy’s success while he was chef at The Old Yellowstone Garage. Hardy believes in presenting honest food with simple elegance. His style is refreshing and sincere, incorporating seasonal ingredients with exciting flavors. His move to the Berkshires is a true testament to his commitment to farm to table and the growing mission of Mezze Restaurant Group.
Daniel Hardy photo courtesy of Jay Cavallaro
Nicholas Moulton, Sous Chef, Mezze Bistro + Bar/
Mezze Restaurant Group, Williamstown, MA
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, Nicholas Moulton is an accomplished sous chef from North Adams, MA. Working closely with Mezze Bistro’s head chef Joji Sumi, Moulton executes a developing menu highlighting local foods from farms in the Berkshire region. He is heavily exposed to independent growers and producers, assisting in the harvesting and butchering of ingredients for the restaurant’s menu. Moulton is responsible for daily mise en place, production and assistance with weekly menu changes of this highly successful farm-to-table restaurant, part of the Mezze Restaurant Group. Prior to his position at Mezze Bistro + Bar in Williamstown, MA, Moulton worked as sous chef at The Orchards Hotel in Williamstown. In this role, he was responsible for the supervision of staff over three meal periods daily and assisted the chef in maintaining the restaurant’s AAA Four-Diamond Award. Moulton has also held stages and apprenticeships at the renowned restaurants Blantyre (Relais & Chateaux), L’Espalier, Wheatleigh and Craigie on Main. He believes in supporting sustainable agriculture and holds a strong commitment to the farm-to-table movement and the growing mission of Mezze Restaurant Group.
Daniel Hardy photo courtesy of Gregory Nesbit
Dan Smith, Chef/Owner, John Andrew’s Restaurant,
South Egremont, MA
Dan Smith was brought up on a family farm in Iowa. His family has been farming for generations. Dan studied agriculture in college, but realized that his passion was not in growing food but in cooking it. His connection to food comes from his experience of fresh food grown on the family farm. Dan’s longstanding connection to fresh, local food is rooted in his childhood, and is the basis of his menu at John Andrews. Dan is committed to buying local, organic, sustainable products. He has been working with local farmers for the last twenty years. He works with area small farmers and producers to develop his menu around their products. He is inspired by the the produce they bring to his kitchen door. Dan treats ingredients and employees with respect to create a beautiful dining experience for his customers. Not only does he work with area farmers, he has also created his own garden on the property which supplies produce for the restaurant. The commitment to local products and service is evident in the dining experience at John Andrews.
Jeremy Stanton, Chef/Owner, The Meat Market,
Great Barrington, MA
Jeremy Stanton is a kind of food polymath who trained at the CIA and has cheffed in kitchens in the Berkshires, Florida and New York. He started a successful pasta company at 25 and learned the ins and outs of sourcing and butchering heritage breed food animals as a consultant to Stafford Meats in Connecticut. Mr. Stanton currently operates Fire Roasted Catering – renowned for preparing entire meals over an open wood fire – including whole animals sourced from local farmers. In August 2012, Mr. Stanton brought his passion for local food to the ultimate level by opening The Meat Market. Central to Mr. Stanton’s culinary practices and his philosophy about food in general, is the importance of raising awareness about locally grown agricultural products. He believes we all need to understand and embrace the contributions to flavor, healthful living and stewardship of the land that follow when we support local farms and farmers. His commitment to opening a retail butcher shop dedicated to locally raised meats speaks both to his personal convictions about the importance of supporting local agriculture and his belief that the market forces now exits to make such a business economically viable.
Joji Sumi, Chef, Mezze Bistro + Bar/Mezze Restaurant Group,
Chef Joji Sumi is solidly committed to sourcing local ingredients from the surrounding region and partnering with like-minded farms in our community. His “farm to table” philosophy translates to procuring the best-quality produce, meats, cheeses and other local foods to create a superior product for Mezze Bistro guests. Sumi has daily dialog with many farmers and makes a concerted effort to bring his kitchen staff to the farms to help with seasonal harvests and participate in the butchering of the food that is on his changing menus. Sumi came to Mezze Bistro + Bar in October 2007 after working as head baker and pastry chef for Midland Country Club in Michigan. His 15-plus years of culinary experience include positions ranging from line cook and sous chef to head chef. Over the past few years, the Japanese-American chef has developed the Mezze Bistro + Bar menu to reflect his background, blending classic French technique with the influences of his Asian heritage. Sumi is increasingly inspired by the availability of fresh seasonal ingredients in the Berkshire region. The changing of the seasons provides him with a natural backdrop for an interesting and ever-evolving menu at Mezze Bistro + Bar.