The Berkshires, in western Massachusetts, are more and more becoming known as a culinary haven, and on March 1 that will again be proved at New York City's James Beard house in Greenwich Village, when a group of innovative Berkshire chefs travels to Manhattan for "The Berkshire Cure-All."
Led by Brian J. Alberg, Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, eight chefs in total will present a farm-to-table dinner featuring foods harvested in the Berkshire region and prepared using the area's time-honored curing and preserving methods, a necessity in Berkshire winters.
The James Beard Foundation, held in the former townhouse of the celebrated cookbook author and television personality, holds more than 20 monthly events showcasing culinary artists from around the world, featuring multi-course dinners with wine pairings prepared by guest chefs, all designed to educate, inspire, entertain, and foster an appreciation of American cuisine.
Alberg will bring with him Stephen Browning, chef at Bell & Anchor in Great Barrington; Terry Moore, chef-owner of The Old Mill in South Egremont; Jamie Paxton, chef at The Meat Market in Great Barrington; Daire Rooney, chef at Allium Restaurant + Bar in Great Barrington; Dan Smith, chef-owner of John Andrews: A Farmhouse Restaurant in South Egremont; and Zee Vassos, chef at Firefly in Lenox. Red Lion Sommelier Dan Thomas will craft elixir-themed cocktail recipes and select cure-all wines to accompany the dinner's reception and six courses.
This will be Alberg's tenth visit to the James Beard house and the fourth time he has invited a group of like-minded Berkshire chefs to collaborate and present the multifaceted culinary artisanship of the region. He has been instrumental in galvanizing a Berkshire culinary movement, as a chef supporting local farms, as a farmer raising his own heritage breed pigs at his Bacon on the Side farm, as a mentor for youth interested in culinary arts in the Railroad Street Youth Project and as president of Berkshire Grown's board of trustees.
The evening will begin at 7 p.m. with a reception in the Beard house's Greenhouse Gallery. A seated tasting menu will begin at about 8 p.m. The price is $130 per person for James Beard Foundation members and $170 per person for the general public. The James Beard house is located at 167 West 12th Street. For reservations, call 212-627-2308.
The mission of the nonprofit 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. It provides scholarships, honors industry professionals, offers the public the opportunity to enjoy the talents of emerging and established chefs, winemakers, cookbook authors and purveyors, and hosts conferences, readings and classes to engage people with the world of food. For more information about programs and membership, visit www.jamesbeard.org
The chefs' sourced menu ingredients from the Berkshires and Hudson Valley include Bacon on the Side Farm, Barrington Coffee Roasting Company, Berkshire Blue Cheese, Berkshire Mountain Bakery, Berkshire Mountain Distillers, BerkShore, Lila's Mountain Lamb, The Berry Patch, Black Queen Angus Farm, Chestnut Hill Farm, East Mountain Farm, Equinox Farm, Farm Girl Farm, Foggy River Farms, High Lawn Farm, Hilltop Orchards, Hudson Valley Foie Gras, Kinderhook Farm, Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, Shire City Herbals, Sol Flower Farm and Zehr & Sons Mushroom Farm.
Following the week of the New York based dinner, several chefs will feature their "Berkshire Cure-All" course back at home. Berkshire Farm & Table's mission is to cultivate regional economic development through the advancement of food culture in the Berkshires. For more information, visit www.berkshirefarmandtable.com.
Beginning at nonoon on Friday, March 1, a team from The Red Lion Inn and Berkshire Farm & Table will provide behind-the-scnees coverage of Berkshire chefs in the James Beard kitchen, with blog posts, Facebook and Twitter updates as the event takes place on-site in New York. To view the full menu, photos and videos from last year's event, visit http://tinyurl.com/JBHB erkshireCureAll2013.