PITTSFIELD — Berkshire County’s premiere hostess Dorinda Medley will help kick off Hancock Shaker Village’s annual Food for Thought dinner series on Saturday, Sept. 11.
“Dinner with Dorinda” will feature a farm-to-table seasonal dinner highlighting the produce grown in the village’s Shaker gardens, served outdoors under the Timberframe, with views of the Round Stone Barn and the farm. Medley, a fan-favorite from the “Real Housewives of New York City” reality television series, will talk about her recently published memoir, “Make It Nice.”
Tickets at $100 per person or $190 for two, include the dinner, wine and one copy of Medley’s book, which she will be available to autograph.
Medley, a native of Great Barrington, first joined the Bravo reality television series in 2015 as a cast member of Season 7. The series, part of Bravo’s larger Real Housewives franchise, follows the lives of affluent women in New York City, chronicling their families, friendships and most importantly lifestyles. Medley, who splits her time between her Manhattan apartment and Great Barrington home on 18 acres, quickly became a fan-favorite for her no-nonsense sensibility and a deadpan humor that made viewers feel like she was the mom next door you wanted to share a martini (or two) with.
Throughout her life, Medley has always strived to “make it nice” regardless of circumstances. In this funny, candid memoir, Medley unveils the not-so-glamorous bumps in the road that have marked her roller-coaster journey, chronicling her childhood in the Berkshires, marriage and motherhood in New York and London, and her return to the Berkshires to renovate Blue Stone Manor in Great Barrington.
Last August, Medley announced, just ahead of the end of season 12, that she would not be returning the following season. Producers of the show told her they wanted to “take a pause” and revisit her involvement with the show in another year. That pause allowed her to quarantine at her Great Barrington home, Blue Stone Manor, throughout the pandemic, and gave her time to write “Make It Nice.”
In a recent interview with The Eagle, Medley said she used the pause, and pandemic, to get back to her roots, literally and figuratively.
“It gave me time to take a pause in my personal life,” she said of writing the book, which is part memoir, part advice and full of her catchy pieces of wisdom. “I’ve sort of just enjoyed each moment in my life as it comes to me, each accomplishment and failure — which I talk about in the book — as it comes to me; it’s interesting to see it not in the macro level, but the micro level.”
The book follows her life growing up in Great Barrington, as one of four children in the Cinkala family with deep immigrant roots — her mother Italian, her father Polish — and how her time spent working at The Red Lion Inn under Jack and Jane Fitzpatrick shaped her work ethic and attention to detail that would later push her forward in her personal and professional life.
Medley would go on to move to New York City, become a wholesaler for Liz Claiborne and later travel around the world with her first husband, who worked internationally at Lehman Brothers. She spent many years in London, where she refined the hostess skills she’d later become known for on television.
“I am known as the hostess who makes it nice!” Medley joked during The Eagle interview.