I had a great time at the Hudson Valley Restaurant Week's Kick Off Event at the CIA last night. This year Hudson Valley Restaurant Week runs from March 11th - 24th and will include over 170 restaurants in 7 counties. Participating restaurants will offer three-course prix-fixe dinners at $29.95 and three-course lunches at $20.95. It was my second time at CIA. I was invited to take a Bistros and Brasseries class in September 2010 and blogged about my experience. (It was a fun class, but sadly I'm still cooking turkey burgers for my family).
First order of business was a tour of the new restaurant Bocuse. Stephan Hengst, Director of Marketing & Communications at the Culinary Institute of America took us on a tour of the new CIA restaurant Bocuse, named after Chef Paul Bocuse, who Hengst explained was the first celebrity chef and the first chef owner. At the opening gala of the restaurant, the 87-year-old paused while on a tour of the kitchen, and yelled, "Give me a pen!" and signed the new white tile on the kitchen wall.
(The space which used to be home to the Escoffier room went through a major renovation). The restaurant functions as a classroom for students at the CIA. The idea is to bring back the table side dining with traditional French cuisine that Chef Bocuse made famous, and give it a modern twist. Hengst showed off an hand-churned Kitchen Aide ice cream maker that can blend ice cream using liquid nitrogen table side, which makes the dining experience very interactive. "Hand cranked and directed poured directly in. The end product is the most amazing ice cream you ever tasted!" said Hengst. Bocuse restaurant was designed to adhere to the proportions of a classic French classic restaurant, with a more sleek contempary style. As I looked around, I could definitely imagaine myself here on a future date night enjoying the Black Truffle soup, and sampling a smoked Manhattan.
After the tour, Janet Crawshaw Publisher off The Valley Table and founder of the event presented awards to Dr. Samuel Simon from Hudson Valley Fresh and Chef John Novi from Depuy Canal House in High Falls. Dr. Tim Ryan, President of the CIA presented an award to Peter Kelly, Co-Chair of the Advisory Board, and president of Xaviars Restaurant Group.
There were about 200 or so attendees chefs and restaurant owner at the networking event. CIA students were passing out delicious hors dheurves, and different vendors were there pitching their products to restaurant industry folks. The 2 restaurateurs I was hoping to interview (Tom Struzzieri of Diamond Mills Hotel and Tavern and Chef Owner Josh Kroner of Terrapin) weren't there, but I did chat with Cathryn Fadde, the charming owner of Cathryn' s Tuscan Grille, of the Cold Spring Harbor. Just as she was about to give me more juicy details of her most memorable dining experience, an $800 dinner she enjoyed in Philadelphia, one of the Quinn & Co. public relation folks whisked her away from my table for an interview.
I also met Executive Chef Brandon Collins from Swift at The Roundhouse at Beacon Falls. Swift opened in July 2012, and he is very excited about the new space which is now available for weddings and special events. I'm really looking forward to Hudson Valley Restaurant Week! I like to try out a restaurant that I haven't been to before. This year I'm planning on dining at Swift. I have to confess I have never been to Beacon! What about you, which restaurant will go to Hudso Valley Restaurant Week?