Berkshire Regional Cuisine Heads to NYC
On Wednesday, March 12, six chefs from the Berkshires and Hudson Valley will be heading to the James Beard House in New York City to present “The Berkshire Cure-All” dinner when the Berkshires gives the farm-to-table movement a winter makeover. Brian J. Alberg, Executive Chef of The Red Lion Inn, known for his support of local food, is bringing this group of chefs together for a one-night-only eating and drinking “cure-all” at the James Beard Foundation.
The James Beard House is known as New York’s best-kept gastronomic secret. Located in the former townhouse of celebrated cookbook author and television personality James Beard, the James Beard house is in the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village. Over 20 dining events are held monthly to showcase culinary artists from around the world, featuring multi-course dinners with wine pairings prepared by guest chefs.
From bresaola and smoked trout to maple-cured duck breast and lamb corn dogs, an array of salt-cured, sugar-cured and smoke-cured ingredients will be on the menu at this culinary collaboration that explores the myriad ways to preserve meats, poultry, fish and produce. The dinner gathers six chefs with diverse backgrounds and culinary viewpoints, each of whom will explore his or her interpretation of curing.
Chefs Demonstrating Commitment to Local Agriculture
The Berkshire region boasts a culinary movement characterized by a group of innovative chefs whose culinary styles are informed by the ever-changing bounty of New England’s seasons and the spirit of collaboration that pervades this close-knit group of farmers, producers and foodmakers. The unique culinary culture of the Berkshires has been shaped by an historical farming culture of dairy, orchards and raising animals on pasture — the county’s biggest “crop,” contributing to the year-round sustainability of the region’s farms. The Berkshires are known for rolling hills and fertile valleys; there are over 66,000 acres of farmland in Berkshire County, Mass.
Chef Brian Alberg
“This is a time of year that presents constraints to the idea of ‘eating local’ and, as chefs who are committed to the Berkshires and Hudson Valley, we welcome the challenge,” Alberg said. “The ‘Berkshire Cure-All is an opportunity to showcase a wide range of local food in the winter months: We’re curing things with salt, acid and smoke in an effort to preserve the bounty from last year’s harvest with ingredients produced right here in our region.” Alberg has been instrumental in galvanizing a Berkshire culinary movement – as a chef supporting local farms, as a mentor for youth interested in culinary arts in the Railroad Street Youth Project, as past President of Berkshire Grown’s Board of Trustees and as founding chair of Berkshire Farm & Table.
Dinner Showcases Talents of Six Berkshire Chefs and Berkshire Farmers and Producers
This will be Alberg’s eleventh visit to the James Beard House and the fifth time he has invited a group of like-minded Berkshire chefs to collaborate and present the multifaceted culinary artisanship of the region. “The Berkshire Cure-All” reception and dinner will include Adam Brassard, sous chef at The Red Lion Inn (Stockbridge); Jeremy Stanton, chef-owner at The Meat Market (Great Barrington); Daire Rooney, chef at Allium Restaurant + Bar (Great Barrington); Dan Smith, chef-owne of John Andrews: A Farmhouse Restaurant (South Egremont); and Josephine Proul, chef at Local 111 (Philmont, NY). Red Lion Inn Sommelier Dan Thomas will present beverage selections of Northeast regional wines featuring one of the Inn’s signature house ales, a limited edition bourbon cask-aged Red Lion Ale custom brewed by Big Elm Brewery, and select wines to accompany the reception and six courses.
The chefs sourced menu ingredients from the Berkshires and Hudson Valley including Barrington Coffee Roasting Company, Lee, MA; Berkshire Mountain Bakery, Housatonic, MA; Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Sheffield, MA; Berkshire Wildflower Honey, Mill River, MA; Berle Farm, Hoosick, NY; The Berry Patch, Stephentown, NY; Big Elm Brewing, Sheffield, MA; Black Queen Angus Farm, Berlin, NY; Bulich Mushroom Farm, Catskill, NY; Climbing Tree Farm, New Lebanon, NY; Common Hands Farm, Hudson, NY; Cricket Creek Farm, Williamstown, MA; Duck Bela Farms, Farm at Miller’s Crossing, Hudson, NY; Farm Girl Farm, Egremont, MA; Foggy River Farms, Great Barrington, MA; High Lawn Farm, Lee, MA; Howden Farm, Sheffield, MA; Hudson Valley Fresh, Poughkeepsie, NY; Ioka Valley Farm, Hancock, MA; Indian Line Farm, Egremont, MA; Island Creek Oysters, Duxbury, MA; Lila’s Mountain Lamb, Stockbridge, MA; North Plain Farm, Great Barrington, MA; Ronnybrook Farm, Ancramdale, NY; Sky Farm, Millerton, NY; Taft Farms, Great Barrington, MA; Ten Barn Farm, Ghent, NY; and Zehr & Sons Mushroom Farm, Ghent, NY
Live from New York!
Beginning at noon on Wednesday, March 12, a team from The Red Lion Inn and Berkshire Farm & Table will provide behind-the-scenes coverage of Berkshire chefs in the James Beard kitchen, offering fans a backstage pass to this prestigious event. This year, media coverage will include blog posts, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter updates for up-to-the-minute storytelling as it takes place on-site in New York.
Destination Boasts Powerful Buy Local Movement
Small-town living, and its insular nature, along with a longstanding concern for the environment typical of people who work closely in it, has fostered a culture of sustainability that permeates life in the Berkshires. The region’s fertile valleys nurture over eighty independently owned farms that provide produce, meat, poultry, charcuterie, artisan cheeses and more. In particular, Brian Alberg’s buying practices have a direct impact on the community as he sources a large percentage of The Red Lion Inn’s menu ingredients through the Berkshire Grown network of farmers – contributing over $600,000 annually to the local economy. There is no better embodiment of the community’s commitment to the “buy local” movement than BerkShares, the region’s legal currency that is only accepted by local businesses (including The Red Lion Inn) – over two million BerkShares have been circulated since the currency’s introduction in 2006.
The Red Lion Inn
A charter member of Historic Hotels of America and winner of the Wine Spectator award for over a decade, The Red Lion Inn (c. 1773) has been providing food and lodging to guests for over two centuries. With the addition of its ninth Village Guest House Maple Glen, the Inn offers 125 antique-filled rooms and suites, traditional and casual dining with locally sourced ingredients, a gift shop featuring locally made items, a pub with nightly entertainment and a full range of amenities including free WiFi, a year-round heated outdoor pool and hot tub, and in-room massage therapy. The Inn is recommended by National Geographic Traveler, The New York Times and The Boston Globe. For more information, contact 413.298.5545 or visit www.redlioninn.com.
Berkshire Farm & Table
Berkshire Farm & Table promotes regional food culture in the Berkshires. The organization collaborates to cultivate tastemakers, produce events and foster dialogue in the media. By sharing the unique stories and expertise of culinary artisans, farmers and agritourism experiences, their work advances food as another reason to explore and savor the Berkshires. For more information, visit www.berkshirefarmandtable.org.
James Beard Foundation
The James Beard Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to celebrating, preserving and nurturing America’s culinary heritage and diversity. The mission of the James Beard Foundation is to celebrate, preserve, and nurture America’s culinary heritage and diversity in order to elevate the appreciation of our culinary excellence. The James Beard Foundation offers a variety of events and programs designed to educate, inspire, entertain, and foster an appreciation of American cuisine. The events at the Beard House support foundation programs.
The late James Beard was a champion of American cuisine who helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. Today, the James Beard Foundation continues in the same spirit by providing scholarships, honoring industry professionals, offering the public the opportunity to enjoy the talents of emerging and established chefs, winemakers, cookbook authors and purveyors, and hosting conferences, readings and classes to engage people with the fascinating world of food. For more information about programs and membership, visit jamesbeard.org.
For media inquiries, please contact Stephanie Gravelese, Manager of Marketing & Communications at The Red Lion Inn. 413.298.1629 | firstname.lastname@example.org
All photography provided courtesy of Maia Landau except where noted.