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My Loss Will Be Your Gain

September 6, 2012

What are you doing on Saturday? It’s a really hard question this week for food lovers in the Capital Region. There is so much going on. But if you haven’t made up your mind yet, or if you aren’t fully committed, have I got a giveaway for you.

Perhaps you are familiar with my involvement with the Chefs Consortium. Earlier this summer I was able to sail with the chefs and a bunch of guests on the sloop Clearwater for a local food dinner on the Hudson River. It was amazing.

Well, on Saturday the chefs are preparing another special event, this time on Bannerman Island. I can’t go, and I just got the word last night that I could give away a pair of tickets to one lucky reader. Whoever you are, you are in for a treat. And even if you don’t win, I’m told there are still some tickets available for purchase.

But first I need to make sure you know exactly how special this promises to be.

Consider this. Bannerman Castle stands in ruins on an island in the middle of the Hudson River. Perhaps you’ve seen it while taking the train from Albany to Manhattan. It’s seen better days, but it’s absolutely beautiful.

The only way to get there is by boat, and there is no water, no electricity or any real cooking facilities. So setting up a dinner there is no easy task. However, this will be the third year that the Chefs Consortium has tackled this project in order to help raise money to shore up this historic landmark.

It’s safe to say they know what they are doing. And the five-course menu is a local food feast. The dinner features food from Northwind Farms, R and G Cheesemakers, Staron’s Farm, Tierra Farm, Markristo Farm, Ronnybrook Farm Dairy, Samascott Orchards, and Feather Ridge Farm. Here is what the chefs have planned:

Chilled corn and crab bisque with tarragon crème fraiche – Chef Liz Beals, Beth’s Farm Kitchen

Markristo mesclun greens with wax beans and herb vinaigrette – Chef Noel Conklin, Woodstock natural foods caterer

Northwind Farms turkey ballantine with pipian sauce, corn and butternut squash salsa – Chef Ric Orlando, New World Home Cooking and New World Bistro

Cheese course and local fruit preserves, cheeses from R and G Cheesemakers – Chef Jeff Loshinsky, Jeff Loshinsky Catering

Angel food cake, local peach and ground cherry compote, toasted pine nuts, rosemary crème anglaise – Chef Bob Turner, Omega Institute for Holistic Studies

The boat to the island leaves the Beacon Ferry Dock at 4:30 p.m. Dinner starts at 5 p.m. The price for the dinner includes both the boat ride and a guided tour of this historic place. Should you not win, tickets are $150 per person (apparently $100 of that is also tax deductible). But the only way to buy tickets is by calling Neil Caplan at 845- 831-6346 or emailing him at

To get a sense of what is in store, there was a video made of the Bannerman Island dinner experience. And it’s worth a view.

If you want to win the pair of tickets, simply comment below. What you say is immaterial. Tell me what a fool I am for passing up this event. Tell me what you yourself would be willing to give up to attend. Tell me how awesome I am for giving these tickets away. Tell me how crazy it is for anyone to build a castle in the middle of a river. Whatever.

Just tell me before 11:59 p.m. tonight, because that’s when the comments close. By morning we’ll have a winner, so those who don’t win still have a fighting chance to buy a ticket or two to this thing.

The winner will be picked by random, thanks to the help of And as always, no whining.

  1. llcwine permalink
    September 6, 2012 9:19 am

    The food reads amazing and it would be the perfect romantic gift for me and my husband on our anniversary…..maybe it’s karma!!!

  2. Elizabeth permalink
    September 6, 2012 9:35 am

    I’ve always admired Bannerman and wanted a chance to step foot there- please oh please let me be selected!!

  3. Jenna C. permalink
    September 6, 2012 9:54 am

    What a gorgeous location and delicious looking menu! I would LOVE to win!

  4. Stephen Piorkowski permalink
    September 6, 2012 9:56 am

    I wouldd not pass on a boat ride ever. My wife met on a cruise on the Hudson an we are msrried 2 years later. We are both foodies and a cruise wouldgive us a time time to celebrate our anniversary. Me being a chef and her knowlege of what the ares has to offer is reason enough to be present at this event. I can bake , cook anything and enjoy what other culinary proffesionals offer. Pleasse consider my request to attend.

  5. September 6, 2012 9:56 am

    Boy did I join your blog at the right time, I’m still salivating at the thought of donut picking later this month… and macarons…. and this….OMG!

  6. Jen Gonroff permalink
    September 6, 2012 10:00 am

    This would be an amazing evening! See the castle every week~

  7. Liz permalink
    September 6, 2012 10:06 am

    I went to the CIA and would pass that castle all the time when I headed to NYC for work. That’s great about the dinner! Whoever has the opportunity to go should embrace it and post lots of photos!!

  8. Aaron Major permalink
    September 6, 2012 10:21 am

    If I’m going to use up my supply of luck on something, this is pretty good.

  9. Mel Meade permalink
    September 6, 2012 10:44 am


  10. Mike Gregory permalink
    September 6, 2012 10:46 am

    You had me at “chilled”!

  11. Jess permalink
    September 6, 2012 10:59 am

    Awesome. We enjoyed the Spring tasting at St. Joseph’s Church last year.

  12. Cindy permalink
    September 6, 2012 11:03 am

    Sounds wonderful and we would love a chance to attend!

  13. September 6, 2012 11:11 am

    Menu looks amazing, such an all star cast of chefs, too. On an abandoned island….can’t go wrong.

  14. Third Auntie permalink
    September 6, 2012 12:12 pm

    What a great location for a dinner!

  15. September 6, 2012 12:15 pm

    Woah Nellie! I’ve always wondered what that Island was… thanks for the link Island… I’m totally going to have to check that place out now.

  16. September 6, 2012 12:17 pm

    oh a castle!! food!!! sounds awesome!

  17. September 6, 2012 12:50 pm

    I’ll admit that I’m not one for entering many contests but, I had to enter this one because I would so love to take my mom. She’s the one that taught me about exquisite food and I remember riding the train with her to NYC when I was little and we were both in love with the castle. It would be the perfect thing to lift her spirits since she’s been having a really rough year although you would never know that by talking to her.

  18. Francesca permalink
    September 6, 2012 12:50 pm

    This sounds amazing! And the odds aren’t bad so far!

  19. September 6, 2012 12:53 pm

    Sounds like a thrill! Pick me, o great

  20. Julie permalink
    September 6, 2012 12:54 pm

    I found your blog through @jenisgreen :)

  21. September 6, 2012 1:06 pm

    Would love to attend this event in your honor :)

  22. Jara permalink
    September 6, 2012 1:45 pm

    We have been gorging ourselves on R & G’s maple chipotle and herb goat cheese all summer long. This sounds like an amazing way to celebrate my [unnamed] birthday and enjoy the last bounty and days of summer.

  23. Amy permalink
    September 6, 2012 2:06 pm

    That sounds lovely………and I am starving!

  24. digby333 permalink
    September 6, 2012 2:07 pm

    Always wanted to check that place out, this sounds awesome!

  25. September 6, 2012 2:07 pm

    I want to go

  26. Jessica Brown permalink
    September 6, 2012 2:07 pm

    This sounds like an amazing event…fingers crossed!!!

  27. September 6, 2012 2:08 pm

    My husband and I wanted to get married there, and we just had a baby! Pick us please! :)

  28. amb permalink
    September 6, 2012 2:14 pm

    I’m feeling this.

  29. James permalink
    September 6, 2012 2:19 pm

    Sounds wonderful

  30. Heather permalink
    September 6, 2012 2:19 pm

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE pretty please pick me!

  31. September 6, 2012 2:20 pm

    Boy do I like FOOD! Eating it is even better!

  32. Beth permalink
    September 6, 2012 2:28 pm

    I’ve always wanted to go see the most beautiful ruins on the Hudson up close! The amazing menu would make it an experience to remember.

  33. Char permalink
    September 6, 2012 2:28 pm

    About 20 years ago some guys I know tried to go there in a canoe and nearly drowned. (oops). I’d love to go there and look around.

  34. Cori permalink
    September 6, 2012 2:29 pm

    I was meaning to comment on your blog soon anyway – I took the long drive to The Ice Cream Man from Albany with my freakishly ice cream addicted fiance (because of your article on AOA) and wanted to let you know that the Chai ice cream was delicious!

  35. September 6, 2012 2:29 pm

    Oh gosh, I would love for luck to go my way for this… just got engaged to my sweetie, and I can’t think of any better way to celebrate.

  36. September 6, 2012 2:31 pm

    Oh Em Gee. Have always wanted to explore Bannerman’s Island… and fantastic local food in the bargain? Pick me please!

  37. Greg W permalink
    September 6, 2012 2:34 pm

    Would love to go.

  38. Molly permalink
    September 6, 2012 2:34 pm

    PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEE this is my dream date <3 <3 <3

  39. Katie permalink
    September 6, 2012 2:52 pm

    I would love to go…it’s been so sad watching the castle crumble as I pass it on the train!

  40. September 6, 2012 2:55 pm

    As romantic a date as this would be, I’d leave the boy at home. If I win, I’ll be taking my 69 year old Dad who has always admired the castle with me!

  41. DEN permalink
    September 6, 2012 3:04 pm

    It is a shame that you cannot make it, but thank you for offering your tickets to others!

  42. September 6, 2012 3:09 pm

    Fool, indeed! Maybe *this* will be the time the random generator deity will smile in my direction.

  43. Elle permalink
    September 6, 2012 3:10 pm

    You had me at cheese course.

  44. Ron Young permalink
    September 6, 2012 3:14 pm

    Pick me! Pick me!

  45. Alexander Lord permalink
    September 6, 2012 3:23 pm

    Yes, please.

  46. Rita permalink
    September 6, 2012 3:23 pm

    “Angel food cake, local peach and ground cherry compote, toasted pine nuts, rosemary crème anglaise ”


  47. Jian permalink
    September 6, 2012 3:27 pm

    Who doesn’t love food and castles? Sounds like a great event and definitely a unique foodie experience!

  48. September 6, 2012 3:29 pm

    There goes RestFest…

  49. Ewan permalink
    September 6, 2012 3:42 pm

    Maybe I can be comment 42, in which case sucess is assured?

    But in any case, would love to go, and then blog about it :).

  50. September 6, 2012 5:15 pm

    Random comment #? Hope it’s a winner!

  51. jon h permalink
    September 6, 2012 5:22 pm

    ive seen this castle quite a bit and have always been interested about it….dinner there would be awesome!

  52. Gina permalink
    September 6, 2012 5:26 pm

    I won!

  53. Samantha Cassidy permalink
    September 6, 2012 5:29 pm


  54. Shane Cassidy permalink
    September 6, 2012 5:31 pm

    Sounds delicious!

  55. Kaya permalink
    September 6, 2012 5:40 pm

    So basically, you’re offering a chance to be treated like food royalty for a night…?

    • September 6, 2012 10:35 pm

      Kaya! I thought you were in LA? Are you going to be in NY for the weekend, or are you just asking? I’m not sure what kind of food royalty eats in a crumbling castle. Actually, probably more than one would imagine. I remember seing an article in the WSJ (I think) about how expensive castles are to maintain these days. It’s a real drag for the aristocracy.

  56. PJT permalink
    September 6, 2012 6:06 pm

    Sounds Great and then some.

  57. September 6, 2012 6:47 pm

    Sounds like an amazing time, sorry you can’t make it.

  58. WWK permalink
    September 6, 2012 9:32 pm

    Worth de-lurking for (and passing up festivals in Saratoga, Schenectady, Altamont, AND Hudson).

  59. Lew Ballantyne permalink
    September 6, 2012 10:28 pm

    I’ve been following you quite a while now. This one got me to post a reply. It really brought out the opportunist in me.

  60. Chrissy permalink
    September 6, 2012 10:28 pm

    Yay for Castles!

  61. Natasha mobed permalink
    September 6, 2012 10:35 pm

    Pick me pick meeee

  62. Bethy permalink
    September 6, 2012 11:02 pm

    So random!

  63. Heather K. permalink
    September 6, 2012 11:04 pm

    Mmmm… cheese course… bliss.

  64. Chris VanDoren permalink
    September 6, 2012 11:25 pm

    I would be excited to see the castle in addition to the food and pop-up dining experience.

  65. September 6, 2012 11:42 pm

    winning this would make up for breaking my finger and needing surgery this week!!

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