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The adventures of a Capital Region will-o'-the-wisp chef

Joshua Sheehan and Sarah Fish

You've got to hand it to chef Sarah Fish, who two years ago was named one of "The Capital Region's Rising Chefs". Life with her seldom has a dull moment. Let's recap her activities of the past couple of years.

She founded the Hungry Fish Café in Wynantskill, Rensselaer County, in 2011. A year later, she moved it to Pawling Avenue in adjoining Troy, and operated there until closing it last month. But, before that she took on some temporary work -- gathering and washing eggs, generally breaking her back while she still ran the Hungry Fish -- for a while at the Wm. H. Buckley Farm in Ballston Spa, Saratoga County, to help her learn more about organic foods and their production.

Back to closing the Hungry Fish. That was to allow her and partner Joshua Sheehan time to remodel a building at 336 Congress Street in Troy to become home of their Congress Café later this year, as well as an upstairs apartment home for the two.

But on Tuesday, we suddenly were told Sarah has become the chef at the Buckley Farm, a purveyor of all-naturally raised beef, pork and chickens while using sustainable agricultural practices, and offering lodging, a butcher shop and a country store.

Given, it is an interesting fit, given her reputation for making all her restaurant foods from scratch, right down to the ketchup. But, it seems an odd turn of events. I contacted Sarah to ask if the farm gig is just a temporary way to make a little money while the Congress Café is being developed.

"I am not sure yet. My business is my priority, but I hope I can work [at the farm] full time and that my business can be the hobby it was intended to be," Sarah told me. "I'm thrilled to be there and I want to do whatever I can to be involved in the development of the farm.

"It's a great opportunity for me to grow as a chef, but also to learn more about sustainability and to get to the heart of what matters to me, which is making a good life and sharing it. I want to run my classes there, can my recipes, especially the ketchup, and enjoy what I love to do.

"More than cooking, I love the farm life and it's the direction I want to move. When they called me, I dropped everything to go and cook. Josh is filling in for me supervising the remodeling and I want him to run my [cafe] kitchen when we're open."

This does not sound like a temporary move. "It's all very new and a quick turn of events," Sarah said, "but it's promising and exciting and it feels right, so I'll see where it takes me.

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