Lenox Chef Nominated for National Award
LENOX, Mass. — Bjorn Somlo, chef-owner of Nudel Restaurant, has been nominated one of the top 100 inventive chefs for The People's Best New Chef award for Food and Wine magazine.
This is Somlo's third nomination for an award honoring up-and-coming innovators who have run their own kitchens for five years or fewer.
Somlo is the chef-owner of Nudel Restaurant, a creative American bistro on Church Street, which takes its inspiration from the bounty provided by local farms and food producers of the Berkshire region. He is committed to using local, organic, ethical and natural ingredients whenever and as much as possible.
Somlo started out bussing tables at the county fair when he was 16 years old. Since then, he has worked in the kitchens of restaurants across the region. After living in New Orleans and New York City and working abroad, he returned home to the Berkshires. Somlo opened Nudel in August of 2009 and has been nominated one time for Rising Star Chef and three times for Best Chef: Northeast by the James Beard Foundation.
"Nudel's success is the result of collaboration and partnerships in the Berkshires and Hudson Valley and I am so fortunate to play a part in this food community," Somlo said. "I am honored to be nominated for this Food and Wine award and extend my recognition to the incredible farmers, artisans and purveyors I have the privilege of working with."
Restaurants' devotees will determine The People’s Best New Chef winner by voting here beginning today at 10 a.m. and continuing through March 31 at 5 p.m.
Wild Oats Chef to Attend National Healthy Food Conference
Greg Roach will represent Wild Oats and the National Cooperative Grocers Association at the Worlds of Healthy Flavors conference in California.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Wild Oats Market Chef Greg Roach will travel to the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley, Calif., for the 10th annual Worlds of Healthy Flavors conference from Jan. 22-25.
Roach will join leading nutrition scientists, corporate chefs, world culinary experts, cookbook authors and writers from top consumer and trade publications to learn about the latest trends, tastes, techniques and research in healthy prepared foods.
Roach is also the only attendee to be invited from a small, single-location business and from a food cooperative.
"I'm happy to see the co-op world being taken seriously," Roach said, noting that the National Cooperative Grocers Association that Wild Oats belongs to has 136 members with a combined annual sales of more than $1.5 billion. As the Culinary Team Advisor for the NCGA, Roach is representing them along with Wild Oats at the conference.
The Worlds of Healthy Flavors conference will focus on the use of produce in prepared foods and how produce is used to flavor the cuisines of Asia, the Mediterranean and Latin America.
Roach looks forward to returning with more recipes and ideas for the prepared foods department at Wild Oats.
"I'll also be learning about the latest research into what constitutes a healthy menu and which foods and flavors are trending this year," Roach said.
Roach is also eager to share his knowledge of prepared foods and co-op kitchens with the other conference attendees.
"Co-ops do things differently from large chain store businesses," Roach said. "Unlike the chains, co-ops are standalone businesses. They don't have one solution that is rolled out regionally or nationally across a number of stores. Each co-op has its own kitchen operation, and makes its own decisions about what to prepare and how to prepare it."
Although Roach embraces the chance to learn from food-service leaders like Wegmens, Panera Breads and the Harvard University Dining Operations, he believes that food co-ops have a lot to contribute in terms of healthy prepared foods.
"With their health-conscious, varied food prep methods and their emphasis on the use of clean ingredients, co-ops are no longer a minor player in the industry," Roach said.
The Worlds of Healthy Flavors Conference is sponsored by The Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition. Its purpose is to increase the scope and range of healthy menu choices available to consumers through American food service by bringing together the best of world cooking and the latest in consumer and nutrition research. Conference attendance is by invitation only.
MediTerra In North Adams Closed for Winter
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The MediTerra restaurant closed abruptly in mid-November after revamping its menu for a third time.
A sign recently appeared in the window stating the restaurant was only closed for the winter and would re-open next April, and encouraging patrons to try its sister restaurant in Williamstown.
Owner Fahri Karakaya responded to queries from patrons on Facebook that it was difficult to run the North Adams location during the winter.
"We invested quite a bit there, we will be open in April," he wrote. "Unfortunately, winter business doesn't pay the expenses and keeping close[d] is less cost for us. Hope you understand the reason from the business perspective."
The restaurant had also closed in October during the opening of Karakaya's new Pera Mediterranean Bistro on Spring Street in Williamstown. It had been the site of Mayor Richard Alcombright's victory party on Nov. 5, and his campaign kickoff last spring.
The location at the corner of Holden and Main street has housed four eateries since Appalachian Bean shut its doors nearly a decade ago (the spot used to be part of the Boston Store). A second coffee shop, Cup & Saucer, operated there from 2006 until closing in 2009; next was Petrino's, which transformed it into a sandwich shop but closed after barely a year.
Karakaya made plans to renovate and reopen the spot about six months later as The Local, offering similar fare as Petrino's but seeking to be more Panera-like. The eatery didn't really take off and Karakaya was further hobbled by red-tape delays in getting a beer and wine license, which his nearby competitors had.
The eatery went through a couple different chefs and managers, reopening as MediTerra last June with more focus on the Mediterrean dishes Karakaya grew up on and switching to a sitdown dinner atmosphere. In the meantime, he opened Pera, which by all accounts is booming.
Pera offers a similar menu as well as weekend jazz and late-night menus on Fridays and Saturdays.
North Adams diners with hankering for Mediterranean food, there's still Christo's Pizza on Holden Street.
Storey Publishing Celebrates 'Soup Night'
Guests worked their way down the soup line at Mass MoCA in celebration of Storey Publishing's release of 'Soup Night.'
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Margaret Stuckey's book "Soup Night" took on a life of its own at Club B-10, located in Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, on Thursday evening.
"It's about food, it's about people, it's about getting together," Storey Publishing President and CEO Dan Reynolds told the near-capacity room. "[There's something] satisfying about connecting with people over soups."
Moments later, the soup line formed and the community consisting of Mass MoCA and Storey employees, friends and families, invited guests and Mayor Richard Alcombright continued to chat while awaiting three soups, all included in the recent release.
Along with the chicken soup, Vegetable Soup with Andouille Sausage and Vegetarian Eggplant Chili, were salad, bread and a dessert.
A couple years ago, Stuckey, who resides in Portland, Ore., pitched writing a book about communities bonding at soup nights to Editor Margaret Sutherland. The timing was right. Sutherland wanted a book about soup recipes, but needed a little more.
"I was looking for a hook," Sutherland said.
Sutherland researched the topic then and learned that the newer idea of soup nights were popping up all around the country, in various types of communities. She hopes with "Soup Night" more communities adopt the practice.
The book shares stories on communities who adopted the practice and how someone can begin their own community's "Soup Night."
Vegetable Soup with Andouille Sausage
The 304-page book also features 99 recipes for soup, including Smoked Salmon Corn Chowder, Roasted Garlic and Onion Cream Soup and Pumpkin Curry Soup and 40 more recipes for sides, salads and desserts.
Reynolds said the book was released in early October and since has sold out its first run a week ago — a total of 15,000 copies, which was helped when the QVC network picked up some of the slack. Since it's been sold out, 1,200 copies are on back order, but another 8,000 are due in next week.
"It has really good energy out of the gates," Reynolds said. He explained that out of about 35 books published annually, about two or three sell out in its first month.
Reynolds is also impressed with its uniqueness as the only book on the topic of soup nights and hopes for it to sell well this upcoming holiday season and to compete hard with cooking books that feature "big personalities."
"Soup Night" can be ordered or downloaded online
Berkshire Food Festival Serves Up Local Fare on Sunday
Hundreds attended last year's Food Festival to sample local fare.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — North Adams plays host to the 12th annual Berkshire Food Festival on Sunday, Sept. 15, from noon to 4 on Main Street.
The event features the cuisine of top area restaurants along with micro-brewed beer, wine, cider and mead tastings. Attendees can also enjoy an eclectic mix of live music from the JP Murphy Band and Patrick Gray Jr.
The north side of Main Street will be closed to motor vehicle traffic, and large festival tents will be erected to shade vendors and patrons. The day's fare will satisfy the traditional as well as the adventurous palate; there will be many samples from which to choose.
Attendees can buy tickets, valued at $1 each, and redeem them for food and beverage items priced in the $1 to $5 range. The festival will also be raffling off baskets of gift certificates from participating eateries. These tickets can be purchased at the event.
Participating restaurants include:
Boston Sea Foods, North Adams
Christo's Famous Pizza, North Adams
Chef's Hat, Williamstown
Desperados, North Adams
Gramercy Bistro, North Adams
How We Roll, Pittsfield
Leslie's Humble Pie, Valatie, N.Y.
Lucia's Latin Kitchen, Pittsfield
MadJacks BBQ, Pittsfield
Mediterra, North Adams
Mikey Joe's, North Adams
Spice Root Modern Indian Cuisine, Williamstown
This year's beer/wine/cider vendors include:
Artesian Beverage Cooperative, Greenfield
Bantam Cider, Cambridge
Berkshire Brewing Co., South Deerfield
Headwater Cider, Hawley
Kelly's Package Store, Dalton
Madison Brewing Co., Bennington, Vt.
Berkshire Food Festival is sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union. Additional sponsors include Aladco Linen Services and Allied Waste.
For more information: www.ExploreNorthAdams.com or the North Adams Office of Tourism at 413-664-6180 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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