New Chef Leading Allium Restaurant + Bar
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Mezze Restaurant Group has named Oliver Antunes as its new chef, leading the kitchen at Allium Restaurant + Bar.
Hailing from the Napa Valley where his work highlighted local, sustainable California cuisine and custom tasting menus, Antunes has been leading the kitchen team at the Great Barrington restaurant since mid-July.
A graduate of the New England Culinary Institute in Burlington, Vt., Antunes worked locally at Bistro Rouge in West Stockbridge and four-star, five-diamond Wheatleigh Hotel and Restaurant in Lenox for several years. He then moved to Lyon and Paris, France, to pursue his culinary career and held positions of sous chef and chef de partie at two- and three-Michelin-starred Restaurant Le Bec and Restaurant Le Meurice from 2009 to 2012. His most recent experience included sous chef positions at The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena and Calistoga Ranch in Calistoga, both located in world-renowned California wine country.
"Oliver is a stellar addition to our culinary team and we are excited to welcome him to our evolving restaurant family," said Nancy Thomas, founder and proprietor of Mezze Restaurant Group. "Our guests have been enjoying his food style at Allium and we look forward to building upon his talent to continue to grow our commitment to great local food and first-rate hospitality in our region."
Antunes moved back to the area with his wife to be closer to family and is excited by everything the Berkshires has to offer. His food philosophy focuses on simplicity and is directly aligned with the changing nature of the seasons. His cooking is ingredient-driven with respect for the nature of the product, and his work highlights simple ingredients with strong technique, flavor profiles and flavor combinations. He values creativity, discipline in cooking practice and constant evolution while striving for perfection.
"I have been looking forward to coming back to the Berkshires for a long time, watching it change and evolve more and more toward a culture that emphasizes great locally grown food," Antunes said. "I am very happy and grateful to be welcomed with such excitement and warmth and look forward to creating relationships with local farmers and being part of the community."
As a chef with an appreciation for smaller restaurants and regional cuisine, Antunes is dedicated to the farm-to-table movement while building awareness of Berkshire food culture and an understanding of the region's terroir, part of the growing mission of Mezze Restaurant Group. He will continue the restaurant group's commitment to sourcing ingredients from local farmers, food makers and foragers in the Berkshires and Hudson Valley.
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