LENOX, Mass. — A slate of culinary experts with local ties will display their skills using New England's first harvest of the year — maple syrup.
Berkshire Grown holds its annual March Maple Dinner on March 18 at Cranwell Resort to benefit the organization and Share the Bounty, which buys shares in local farms for food pantries.
This year's March Maple Dinner chefs cut their cooking teeth at either Wheatleigh or Blantyre in Lenox and Stockbridge. Many of these young chefs went on to other triumphs — Brian Young is now executive chef at Tavern on the Green in New York City; Hung Huynh, winner of "Top Chef Season 3," is now executive chef at The General, also in New York City.
Their hearts, however, have remained in the Berkshires and this is the first time all seven will gather to produce a meal in support of Berkshire Grown.
The maple-inspired five-course dinner features these creative chefs:
Jeffrey Thompson, executive chef at Wheatleigh Brian Young, former cook at Wheatleigh and executive chef at Tavern on the Green Hung Huynh, former cook at Wheatleigh, "Top Chef" winner and executive chef at The General Chris Brooks, former executive chef at Blantyre, current owner of The Chef at Your Table catering company and chef at Austin Riggs Michael Roller, former executive chef of Blantyre and current owner of Savory Harvest Catering Shirl Gard, former pastry chef at Wheatleigh and current pastry chef at The Old Inn On The Green
Host chef Carl Deluce, executive chef at Cranwell Resort
The event also features of live auction for a wine dinner for eight at The Old Inn on the Green, and a one-week stay at Casa Miel, a home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
The evening begins at 6 with hors d'oeuvres and a complimentary tasting of beverages by Barrington Brewery, Berkshire Mountain Distillers & M.S. Walker Wines with a cash bar available. Dinner follows at 7 with courses featuring maple syrup from local farms.
Tickets, by reservation only, are $100 for Berkshire Grown members, $125 for non-members. For reservations call the Berkshire Grown office at 413-528-0041.
Food of Love (Chocolate!) & Shakespeare Go Together
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The ninth annual Food of Love (A Celebration of Shakespeare, Love, and Chocolate) will take place at the Williams Inn on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 10. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m.
Food of Love is a benefit for the Fall Festival of Shakespeare at Mount Greylock Regional High School, which will be celebrating its 30th anniversary next November. At this event, the audience will enjoy a chocolate buffet, provided by the Williams Inn, while high school actors present some of Shakespeare's scenes — comic, tragic and always romantic.
This year's theme is "Love Interrupted," with scenes where love might be ill suited, just declared, or not quite resolved. In addition to Shakespeare's work, some scenes from David Ives plays will also be included for a contemporary take on the theme.
Seating is limited. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students, available at Where'd You Get That?!, Wild Oats Market and at the door.
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Author and professor Michael Klare will discuss food and world security on Monday, Dec 3, at the Clark Lecture Hall in the Fisher Science Building at Simon's Rock.
The Edible Education event is presented by Berkshire Co-op Market, Berkshire Grown and Bard College at Simon's Rock.
Klare, Five Colleges Program professor of Peace and World Security Studies, will talk about issues such as the future of food, how climate change could affect farming, food production and corporate land grabs and the effects of population growth on food supply.
For years, Klare has focused his studies on world security. Along with his work at Hampshire College and the Five College Extension, he has been the defense correspondent for The Nation Magazine and has published two books, "Resource Wars and Blood and Oil: The Dangers" and "Consequences of America's Growing Petroleum Dependency."
Klare also serves on the boards of directors of Human Rights Watch and the Arms Control Association. He is a regular contributor to many publications including The Nation, TomDispatch, Mother Jones, and is a frequent columnist for Foreign Policy In Focus. He also was the narrator of the documentary "Blood and Oil," which was produced by the Media Education Foundation.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — North Adams plays host to the 11th annual Berkshire Food Festival on Sunday, June 24, from noon to 4 on Main Street. The event features the cuisine of the area's top restaurants along with beer and wine tasting.
Attendees can also enjoy an eclectic mix of live music from local bands Tom Corrigan and the Reformers and Jungle Work.
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 fare will range from traditional to the adventurous. Thirteen local restaurants and food vendors will line the streets with everything from sushi and Indian cuisine to pizza and ice cream.
Returnees include favorites Wild Oats Market and Spice Root of Williamstown, and Lickety-Split at Mass MoCA and some newbies - Public Eat and Drink and SoCo Creamery.
The offerings have to be purchased by ticket, which can be bought that day at booths on the street. The tickets are valued at $1 each and can be redeemed for food, beer or wine items priced in the $1-$5 range.
This year's festival includes a focus on microbrew beer and locally made wine. Eight breweries, wineries and distributors will set up with staff on hand to educate the public about their specific brands. Beer will be provided compliments of Berkshire Brewing Co. of South Deerfield, Madison Brewery of Bennington, Vt., Wandering Star Brewery of Pittsfield and Paper City Brewing Co. of Holyoke. Mead, also known as honey wine, will be provided by Green River Ambrosia of Greenfield and Maine Mead Works of Portland; Headwater Cider Co. of Hawley will bring samples of organic, hard cider made from locally harvested apples. Additionally, Kelly's Package Store of Dalton will be serving an assortment of imported and domestic fine wines and craft ales.
Berkshire Food Festival is sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union and Northern Berkshire Health Systems. Additional sponsors include Berkshire Menus, Aladco Linen Services and Allied Waste.
Wild Oats Chef Finalist In Food Institute Competition
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Wild Oats Market's chef Greg Roach will compete in the Food Marketing Institute's annual Supermarket Chef Showdown.
Roach was named as one of five finalists in the Family Meals Category for his winning Veggie Enchilada Casserole, designed as a healthy and delicious meal that's easy to prepare. The competition takes place at the institute's 2012 convention in Dallas from April 30 to May 3. The convention brings together some 25,000 industry professionals from 90 countries.
If he wins, Roach will compete for the title of "Grand Chef" in the Championship Challenge held on the last day of the convention. He represents Wild Oats Market against well-known national and regional supermarket chains like Publix, Roche Bros., Safeway and Wegmans. More than 350 recipes were submitted for the competition from 50 retail and wholesale companies across the country.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, from which he received the Roth Outstanding Student Performance Award and the President's Scholarship, Roach's career has included stints in the kitchens of Wolfgang Puck, Jimmy Schmidt and Charlie Trotter. He was chef at Helen's Place for four years before joining Wild Oats in 2007. Since then, he has introduced hot-foods and salad bars, expanded its "grab n' go deli" and bakery operation, and introduced catering services.
Wild Oats Market is a member-owned, cooperative-based whole foods market specializing in local and organic products. The co-op is located at 320 Main St.