Berkshires’ best to cook at New York’s James Beard House

Brian Alberg, director of culinary development of Main Street Hospitality. (FED Guides)

Within the last three to four decades, food culture has seen a shift.
In the past, the average diner didn’t care about the name of the person preparing the meal or where the ingredients were sourced from. But nowadays, you don’t have to be an epicurean to rattle off the names of a handful of chefs. It’s more commonplace.
In addition to their names, the style with which they cook as well as their repertoire has evolved into a more appreciated art form. And in celebrating local artists, eight chefs from the Berkshires will be heading to New York, New York-based James Beard Foundation to perform in a one-night-only dining event on Friday, Jan. 31.
Curated by Brian Alberg, director of culinary development of Stockbridge-based Main Street Hospitality, this is the seventh year that a Berkshire collective is heading to the foundation to perform. This year’s event, “Rooted in the Berkshires,” includes courses that have been prepared using time-honored preserving and curing methods with foods raised and harvested in Berkshire County and Hudson Valley, said Alberg.
“It’s an opportunity to showcase the culinary talents and farm-to-table efforts of our creative chefs from the Berkshires,” he said.
Historical farming, dairy, orchards and raising animals on pasture have all shaped the county’s culinary culture, said Alberg. At past dining events with a collective from the Berkshires, the crafts of charcuterie and butchery were highlighted by Berkshire chefs.
This year’s “Rooted in the Berkshires” event pays homage to winter root vegetables and the heritage of root cellars, according to Izabela Wojcik, director of house programming at the James Beard Foundation.
“The mission of the foundation is to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone, and the house provides a performance space to present that work in the historic former townhouse of celebrated cookbook author and television personality James Beard,” she said.
Each month, more than 20 dining events are held at the culinary arts nonprofit organization to showcase culinary artists from around the world, featuring multi-course dinners with wine pairings prepared by guest chefs, said Wojcik. The foundation has maintained a great relationship with Alberg in showcasing what a “magical place” the Berkshires is through its culinary culture, she added.
In addition to Alberg, the reception and dinner presented at Rooted in the Berkshires will include, Adam Brassard and Amanda Perreault of West Stockbridge’s The Tap House; Adam Zieminski, chef-owner of Café Adam in Great Barrington; James Gop of Richmond-based Heirloom Fire; Nicholas Moulton of Mezze Bistro + Bar in Williamstown; and, Daire Rooney and Jim Corcoran of Morgan’s at the Interlaken Inn in Lakeville, Connecticut.
Sommelier Dan Thomas, owner of The Spirit Shoppe in Egremont, will present a selection of wines to accompany the reception and six-course dinner.
Hors d’oeuvres for the evening will include Howden Farm sweet corn arepas with winter ratatouille and sunchoke confit; potato chip vol-au-vent with whipped parsnip, pickled beets and lomo crisps; pheasant–celery root boudin with Hosta Hill gochu curry kraut; and, poached hakurei turnips with smoked tomatoes and porcini–lemon gremolata.
Each chef will prepare the dinner courses, says Alberg, including cured Hudson Valley steelhead trout with salt-roasted MX Morningstar Farm beets, chilled fennel crema confit, Rock City pickled oyster mushrooms and Alford pine-infused vodka gelée; Mighty Food Farm salt-baked roots and winter citrus with labneh, pickled onions, castelvetrano olives, dill and urfa pepper; wood-fired Mill River Farm hen with MX Morningstar Farm potatoes, cured yolk, foraged ramps and Cedarwood honey; Lila’s Mountain Lamb three ways: warming spice–braised, seared loin with Merguez Scotch olive, and farro verde with winter vegetables, mint and pomegranate chutney.
Dessert will feature Valrhona Chocolate–Old Friends Farm sweet potato torte with Salty Kitchen garden carrot soil, ginger cream and MX Morningstar Farm beet caramel.
Coffee service will feature Barrington Coffee Roasters and High Lawn Farm selections and bread and butter service will highlight Berkshire Mountain Bakery and Ronnybrook Farm.
The evening begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 31 with a reception and hors d’oeuvres in the Greenhouse Gallery of the James Beard House, located at 167 West 12th St., and a seated tasting menu will begin around 8 p.m.
The price is $140 per person for James Beard Foundation members and $180 per person for the general public. For reservations, call 212-627-2308.
For more information, visit jamesbeard.org/events/rooted-in-the-berkshires

One Response to "Berkshires’ best to cook at New York’s James Beard House"

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