How’s that for a catchy title? I’ll explain a little later.
Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is coming up in a few short weeks, and tonight was the press reception, held at the Thayer Hotel at West Point.
The room was filled with restaurateurs, chefs, local food purveyors, media members and lowly food bloggers like yours truly. I was just happy to be there.
I made sure to sample from all the vendors, like Sprout Creek Farm and their excellent artisanal cheeses.
The Pastry Garden’s desserts were fantastic, especially the cake filled with Bailey’s Irish Cream mousse, on the bottom right. Wow was that good.
I tried to nosh on shrimp and other finger foods while holding a pad, camera and press packet. Sometimes you need a third hand.
The chefs gathered together for pictures.
I had an interesting conversation with one chef in particular, Eric Gabrynowicz, Executive Chef at Tavern in Garrison. A few tidbits: he raved about Chef David Martinez of Union Restaurant in Haverstraw, calling Martinez’s ceviche “one of the top five foods I’ve ever put in my mouth.” Here’s Chef Martinez being interviewed.
Eric also raved about Mima Vinoteca (I agreed) and mentioned he wanted to try Velo in Nyack (which I strongly recommended). We got to talking about what chefs eat, and I commented that it must be impossible for a non-professional to cook for a chef because they’re used to such a high standard of food. But he said it’s just the opposite, he could care less about the caliber of the food — what makes a home-cooked meal enjoyable is the idea that someone is putting the time and effort into cooking for him.
At the end of the night, the organizers drew raffle tickets to give away free prizes. One of the prizes was a wheel of Ouray cheese from Sprout Creek Farm. I’d sampled it earlier, and I wanted this thing. (Not really sure what I would have done with an entire cheese wheel — I mean, how much cheese can one person eat?) Anyway, the emcee called out the number… “170!” And what do you know, I won! At that moment, Liz introduced me to Peter Kelly, who you see here (that’s not me on the right, by the way).
I had two options — either A) excuse myself and go up to collect my wheel of cheese before they gave it somebody else, or B) talk to Peter Kelly. I chose B, and I’m glad I did; he’s a very nice man, and a very gracious man. I think I managed to stammer out something about enjoying X2O and having the venison.
So that was my introduction to Peter Kelly. I went home cheeseless, but I got to meet an acclaimed chef.
Now I’m all fired up for Restaurant Week. Don’t forget to make your reservations before everything gets booked up. I’ll be floating around that week guest blogging for Lohud.com, so hopefully I’ll see you out there. The weird guy taking pictures of his food? That’ll be me.