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A winner of the Top Chef Amateurs cooking show opens a community culinary space at the former Mill on the Floss

Farah Momen

Farah Momen has started a hospitality company named Bondhu in the former Mill on the Floss in New Ashford. The company specializes in creating food experiences, and refers to the new eatery as a "culinary community space.” Bondhu, which means friend in Bangladesh, is holding its first supper club event this week. 

NEW ASHFORD — A winner of the Top Chef Amateurs cooking show and her husband are transforming the former Mill on the Floss Restaurant into a community culinary space.

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Farah Momen and her husband, Matthew Trisic, have created ”Bondhu” and will host supper clubs, private dinner parties, cooking classes, corporate events and weddings at the former restaurant at 342 Route 7. Their first supper club event is at 6 p.m. Saturday. A multi-course murder mystery show is Oct. 28.

A supper club is a restaurant that also functions as a social gathering. The menu is limited and often includes homemade items. Momen describes Saturday’s event as an “elevated dinner party” the public can attend by purchasing a ticket.

It will include a seven-course meal that tells a story about her family’s history, with ingredients that reflect her heritage in Bangladesh. The word bondhu means “friend” in Bengali, the main language spoken in Bangladesh.

On her LinkedIn page, Momen describes Bondhu as “a hospitality business with a social mission to nurture reflection, dialogue, and connectivity through food on individual and community levels.”

Bondhu in the former Old Mill on the Floss in New Ashford

Bondhu is located in the former Mill on the Floss in New Ashford. The company specializes in creating food experiences, and refers to the new eatery as a "culinary community space.” 

“This is a space that I hope to share with the community in the Berkshires,” said Momen. She is co-founder of the Now Exchange, which facilitates access to health information, discussions and resources for women and girls in Bangladesh.

Originally from the New York City area, Momen attended college in Montreal and worked in tech in both Toronto and Boston before arriving in the Berkshires this spring.

“I was an entrepreneurship advisor,” she said. “Entrepreneurship had always been a passion of mine. As I was working with them to help them achieve their dreams, like any entrepreneur will tell you, I got the nagging feeling that I wanted to do it myself.”

The couple purchased the former Mill on the Floss from Jane Champagne, who had owned the fine dining establishment since 1973. They paid $520,000 for the property n April.

Jane and her husband, Maurice, a classically trained French chef, had worked for the Mill and the Floss for 21 years before purchasing the property, after having helped establish it as a fine dining destination in the early 1960s. The Mill on the Floss closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Bondhu in the former Old Mill on the Floss KITCHEN

Farah Momen appeared last year on the first season of Top Chef Amateurs, a spinoff of the Top Chef reality cooking show, shortly after earning a master of arts degree in law and diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University. "It was on the plane ride back from filming that I decided to do this," she said of opening a place like Bondhu.

The Mill on the Floss opened in 1938 as a seasonal tavern in a 19th-century Colonial farmhouse. Momen is aware of the restaurant’s tradition.

“I took a space that was cherished by the community,” she said. “A lot of people told me what it meant to them.”

Momen appeared last year on the first season of Top Chef Amateurs, a spinoff of the Top Chef reality cooking show, shortly after earning a master of arts degree in law and diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University. Her occupation is listed as “recent grad student” on the show’s website. The show, broadcast on Bravo, was filmed in Portland, Ore., in the fall of 2020 and aired in July 2021. She beat six competitors to win the title.

“I was graduating right when COVID was hitting and I was looking into applying for jobs online when I came across the casting call,” she said. “It was an awesome experience.

“I think for me that whole experience represented validation for what it took to cook at that level,” she said. “I didn’t go to culinary school.

Bondhu in the former Old Mill on the Floss in New Ashford

Farah Momen and and her husband, Matthew Trisic, have spent about $20,000 on renovations to the former Mill on the Floss in New Ashford and have made the dining area "a little more modern."

“It was on the plane ride back from filming that I decided to do this,” she said of opening a place like Bondhu.

Momen believes a community culinary space will be a better fit in a rural area than in a city.

“A lot of cities are saturated with food businesses,” she sad. “I haven’t spent a lot of time here, but in a lot of ways it feels like where I grew up.”

Momen and Trisic live on the site’s second floor, and are operating their community culinary space on the ground floor, where the restaurant used to be. The couple list their living quarters on Airbnb as a “lush, boho, foodie Berkshire paradise.”

They’ve spent about $20,000 on renovations so far and have made the dining area “a little more modern,” she said.

“It’s ongoing,” Momen said of the renovations. “We’re keeping things minimal.”

Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or

413-496-6224.

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