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Hot Chefs

August 14, 2014

Once upon a time there was a chef and a writer who met for coffee. The chef wanted to write about local food but didn’t quite have the time. The writer saw an opportunity to get closer to a group of chefs who shared the same desire to highlight locally raised food in a region where that kind of thing was still a pretty novel idea.

That was how I joined up with the Chefs Consortium. Periodically, chef Noah and I would meet for coffee. Naturally, we’d chat about whatever food issues were on our mind at the moment. And before heading our separate ways, he’d hand off a bunch of local foods he thought I’d find interesting.

My job was to take these foods home, photograph them, and write about the ones that I thought had the most merit. It was a fabulous gig and it exposed me to locally produced delicacies that were entirely off my radar. Maybe I would have found them eventually, but it would have taken eyears.

Then I moved to New Jersey.

While I’ve yet to fully reconnect with the group, I’ve stayed in touch. And at least on paper, I’m still a part of the gang. It’s a great group. And they are getting fired up.

Ric Orlando may be the best known chef in the group. But Josh Coletto is a rock star, who continues to get attention for his efforts. Ellie Markovitch is the woman behind Story Cooking, and she shares my passion for beans. Michael Lapi is a flavor genius; seriously, his food just sparkles. Rebecca, Nicci, and all the chefs I’ve met as part of the group are fabulous and truly committed to the cause.

What can I say. My mom loves rabbis. I love chefs.

Here’s what you need to know. There are a bunch of Chef Consortium events coming up quickly in the near future. Even I don’t have all the information for them all. But I want to share what I’ve got right now so that you can mark your calendars.

August 28 – Some kind of boozy fundraiser for the Consortium
Details are still coming in. Save the date. I would expect it to be early evening. Most likely somewhere in the city of Albany.

September 13 – Dinner on Bannerman’s Island
I’ve never been able to make this event in the past. But the island is amazing. The crumbling castle is amazing. And to eat farm-to-table foods in an effort to raise money for this historical landmark, is one of those rare opportunities where philanthropy allows you to experience something that few will ever get to enjoy.

September 18 – Chefs and Vintners Dinner at the Glen Sanders Mansion
“400 lucky guests are invited to the Glen Sanders Mansion to experience the Regional Food Bank’s Chefs and Vintners’ Harvest Dinner. This event starts with a delicious cocktail hour featuring wine tastings and food stations followed by an elaborate six-course dinner prepared with local and regional ingredients by the Capital Region’s finest chefs. Each course will be paired with a New York State wine.”

October 4 – Local Harvest Festival in Washington Park
Sure, it’s Yom Kippur. So, that means I won’t be there. Yes, last year on Yom Kippur I was eating my way through Paris. But that means this year I have to atone extra hard. No harvest festival for me. I’ll just be fasting and thinking of my brothers and sisters at the consortium cooking up delicious samples of local and seasonal delicacies for you to try. A couple years ago Josh Coletto cleverly started frying up some bacon. Very few can resist the smell of frying bacon, and it did the trick of attracting hungry onlookers.

Anyhow, if you aren’t planning to fast or if you prefer to atone for your sins by eating cleaner food, you should totally attend.

Now I’m off to New Jersey. Tomorrow, I’m off to New Hampshire. Eventually, I’ll get around to settling down in Albany and getting back into a groove with the consortium. Until then, I’ll simply support their good work in any way I can.

I hope you will too.

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