Bits and bites: Local chef to host James Beard House dinner


James Beard House dinner

Chef Dan Smith of John Andrews Farmhouse will head to the James Beard House in New York City on Tuesday, April 19, to present his second solo dinner. Smith has been the chef-owner of John Andrews in South Egremont since 1990, creating regional cuisine for several decades, long before farm-to-table was a trend.

Known as the "architect of modern Berkshire cooking," as coined by Travel & Leisure magazine back in 2004, Smith is well known for his dedication to local food. He purchases from more than 50 farms in the Berkshires, Hudson Valley and Connecticut for his 73-seat restaurant. In addition to long-term partnerships with regional farms and food producers, Smith created his own garden on the property, which supplies additional produce for the restaurant.

Smith's longstanding connection to local food is the starting point for his menus. The "Beltane in the Berkshires" Beard menu includes highlights of favorite dishes from the chef's repertoire and will feature locally sourced ingredients from more than two dozen farms and food producers in the region.

"Having been part of the Berkshire chef team that has visited the Beard House in winter for so many years, it's thrilling to plan and prepare this meal in Spring with our mission at the core of the menu experience," said Smith. "I am really excited to present 'Beltane in the Berkshires' at the James Beard Foundation in just a few weeks."

Menu ingredients will be sourced from farms and food makers including Barrington Coffee Roasters, Berkshire Blue Cheese, Berkshire Mountain Bakery, Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Berkshire Wildflower Honey, Berle Farm, Blue Hill Farm, Cricket Creek Farm, Farmer Ground Flour, High Lawn Farm, Honey Dog Farm, Hudson Valley Duck Farm, Indian Line Farm, John Andrews Farmhouse Garden, Lila's Farm, The Meat Market, MX Morningstar Farm, Rawson Brook Farm, Rock City Mushroom Farm, Taft Farm and Zinke's Farm.

Smith has been a member of the James Beard Foundation for six years and since 2010, he has been presenting dinners with a team of chefs from the Berkshires.

The James Beard House is known as New York's best-kept gastronomic secret. Located in the former townhouse of celebrated cookbook author and culinary icon James Beard, it is in the heart of New York City's Greenwich Village. More than 20 dining events are held monthly to showcase culinary artists from around the world, featuring multi-course dinners with wine pairings prepared by guest chefs.

The price of the dinner is $130 per person for James Beard Foundation members and $170 per person for the general public. The James Beard House is located at 167 West 12th Street. For reservations, call 212-627-2308.

Brewery opens

Residents of North Adams have something to yell "cheers!" about after last weekend's "soft opening" of Bright Ideas Brewing.

The brewery and bar, located in Building 1 at Mass MoCA, opened to the public for an unofficial preview weekend, pouring more than 500 pints in just two days.

"We're going to be in a 'soft open' phase through June 19," said Eric Kerns, co-owner of the brewery. "This week, we'll be open on Friday and Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m. and on Sunday from 2-8 p.m."

Stop by this weekend and try one of their seven beers on tap and ready to taste.

For more information, visit

'Passover for foodies'

The entire community is invited to "Passover for Foodies: Wine, Charoset, and Gefilte Fish Tasting," to celebrate the Season of Liberation with Chabad of the Berkshires and Spirited Wines.

The program will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday at Spirited at 444 Pittsfield Road, Lenox.

Charoset (derived from cheres, the Hebrew word for clay), a traditional Passover food that is found on every Seder plate, is a sweet mixture of dried fruits, nuts and wine, and represents the mortar and mud bricks used by the enslaved Jews to build Egypt's cities. Chabad Co-Director Sara Volovik will bring her international culinary expertise to the table, demonstrating how to prepare three kinds of charoset — German, Turkish and Greek — and will also discuss the many regional differences in Passover cuisine. Free samples and recipes will be offered, along with a wine tasting that will showcase the excellent quality and extensive variety of today's Passover wines.

The tasting is open to the public, and regardless of religious affiliation or level of Jewish knowledge. Please contact Sara Volovik at (413) 499-9899 or for more information.

Chabad will also be delivering food packages to those in need this Passover — call to find out how you can help.

New location

Need an empanada fix? Stop over at Lucia's Latin Kitchen's new location at 17 Wendell Ave Ext. in Pittsfield.

The local favorite — formerly housed on Onota Street — opened its new doors on Monday. Stop by 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. to order some pulled pork or one of their tasty chicken skewers.

For more information, call (413) 442-4440.

Cocktail dinner

"Manger! Boire! Eat! Drink!" night is back at Chez Nous Bistro in Lee.

At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, enjoy a special cocktail dinner for $35 — you'll also be on hand to celebrate the restaurant's 11th anniversary. Favorite mixologist Dave Flynn will create three special cocktails, accompanied by a meal to highlight the flavors in the drinks and "lots of neat cocktail info and techniques," according to the restaurant's website.

Call (413)243-6397 to book your seats.


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions