This year’s Hudson Valley Bounty ‘Taste of’ Dinner on Monday, August 5 will be yet another on-the-road adventure for the Berkshire local food scene and we’re excited to tell the story. Eight chefs and foodmakers from the Berkshires will be making their way to the Columbia County Fairgrounds in Chatham, NY, where two dozen celebrated chefs will be paired with expert farmers to showcase a wide range of food grown and prepared in the Hudson Valley. Add to that, winemakers, brewers and artisan foodmakers, and you’ve got yourself one helluva party.
Here at Berkshire Farm & Table, we’ve been working on developing new ways to collaborate, discover first-rate experiences to lure us across the border into NY and create a larger food shed in our efforts to build a widespread regional food economy. In the chef world, food has no boundaries and the MA-NY state border has never been a barrier for fresh products and farm-to-chef relationships, especially when ingredients are of high quality and easy to come by. On average, Berkshire chefs are sourcing 50 percent of their local ingredients from the Hudson Valley and we feel it’s time to make some noise about these deep-rooted relationships. This event with Hudson Valley Bounty is a great way to keep on spreading the good food word. More partnerships, cooperation and exchanges mean more business and a stronger community for all of us.
To let the greater community in on what we’ve been doing for a very long while, some of our most favorite Berkshire restaurants will be there on Monday night. We’ve got the omnipresent and benevolent Brian Alberg of the Red Lion Inn (Stockbridge) coming. He spends more than $500K annually in our local food economy, growing that number every year. Brian will be joined by one of the original architects of Berkshire regional cuisine, Dan Smith of John Andrews Farmhouse Restaurant (South Egremont) who has been supporting local farms and foodmakers for close to 25 years. This duo will be cooking up a storm the weekend after Labor Day for two – count ‘em! – Outstanding in the Field events in the Berkshires. A few tickets are still available for Sunday, September 8 at Hancock Shaker Village.
In the middle of these two ambassadors of farm-to-table cooking sits Chef Daire Rooney of Allium (Great Barrington.) She’ll be sous cheffing and grilling at both Outstanding in the Field events this year as both Brian and Dan asked her to participate. Daire’s been working the kitchen at Allium for almost a year now and is most well known in the Berkshires for her work as Executive Chef of the French bistro Brix Wine Bar in Pittsfield.
Next up, we’ve got firestarter, chef-owner and fanatically local butcher Jeremy Stanton of The Meat Market who was featured in a terrific Food Curated documentary just last week. Adding to his meatful presence will be new chef Christophe Jalbert hailing from Vermont, alongside owner Lester Blumenthal of the Gourmet-, Saveur- and Yankee Magazine-recognized Route 7 Grill (Great Barrington.) Then, there’s Nudel. A rare appearance by Chef-owner Bjorn Somlo, nominated by Food & Wine and the James Beard Foundation for best new chef (several times in a row.) This guy’s menu completely changes with each day’s farm deliveries and we can’t nail him down for a confirmed dish for this dinner just yet.
On the dessert side of things, ‘Truffle Lady’ Doria Polinger, chef-owner of H.R. Zeppelin Chocolates (Great Barrington) will be there. We’re excited she can join the team as she’s been busy setting up shop in her new chocolate cafe next door to the Triplex movie house, which just opened last week. If you get to visit the downtown location, you must try her divine version of the Oreo. We promise, you’ll never go back to Nabisco.
The latest addition to our posse is Chef Lonne Cunningham of The Old Inn on the Green (New Marlborough) and Southfield Store (Southfield.) If you haven’t tried this guy’s desserts, the drive across the border next week will be well worth it. Soon after, he’ll be on his way to France to train with Master Pastry Chefs of Valrhona Chocolate!
To entice you a bit more, here’s what’s on the menu for Monday, August 5th:
The Red Lion Inn – Bulich Farm Mushroom and Willow Brook Farms Sweet Corn Conserva with Smoked McEnroe Organic Farm Tomato Puree & Equinox Farm Arugula
John Andrews Restaurant – Milk-braised Willow Brook Farms Pork Shoulder, Succotash of Willow Brook Farms Sweet Corn, Wolfe Spring Farm Haricot Verts, Indian Line Farm Tomatoes & Berle Farm Crowdie
Allium – Black Queen Angus Farm Summer Veal & Zehr Farm Mushroom Ragout and Ratatouille with Farm Girl Farm, Equinox Farm, Sol Flower Farm and Pumpkin Hollow Farms Vegetables
The Meat Market – Flying Pigs Farm Housemade Coppa on Old Chatham Bakery Crostini with Berry Patch Blueberry Mostarda & Garden Chives
Route 7 Grill – Hudson Valley Harvest Pork Rillette with Love Apple Farm Plum Compote
Nudel – “What’s Good Today” with Woven Roots Farm, Overmeade Gardens & The Berry Patch ingredients
H.R. Zeppelin – Truffles with ingredients sourced from Woven Roots Farm, Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Ronnybrook Farm, Barrington Coffee Roasting Company, Windy Hill Orchards and Tierra Farm
Old Inn on the Green/Southfield Store – Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Love Apple Farm Peaches and Riiska Brook Orchard Blueberries
All of these dedicated men and women are in it for the long haul. They are committed to supporting local farms and foodmakers and have been for years. We’re psyched to bring this team of talent to the Hudson Valley to share our version of regional cuisine with the folks who cook, farm, live and eat there. We’re hoping we can bring a few busloads of Shire residents to make the trip along with us and hang with our most fave chefs!
This event supports the mission of Hudson Valley Bounty, a program of the HVADC, which educates the community about the preservation of local farms through the purchase and use of local and regional sustainable foods and products throughout the entire Hudson Valley. The program also promotes and supports networking connections between local agricultural producers and culinary businesses.
For a full list of restaurants, foodmakers and farms who will be there or to purchase tickets, visit the HVB website or call 518.432.5360. We hope to see you there!