For nearly two decades, Stone Barns Center and Blue Hill restaurant have brought farmers and chefs together to push the boundaries of sustainable farming and eating. But during the pandemic, as the inequities of our food system were thrown into high relief, we knew that meeting the moment required more. More innovation. More space for interdisciplinary collaboration. More urgency in our mission to build a food culture rooted in ecological farming, eating, and community.
It’s in that spirit that Blue Hill restaurant and Stone Barns Center reimagined our own community. From January to September, 2021, Blue Hill at Stone Barns was transformed into Chef in Residence at Stone Barns, a program of Stone Barns Center.
Visiting chefs collaborated with a team of Stone Barns and Blue Hill farmers, cooks, educators and artisans to present a menu and dining experience that interpreted and reimagined the farm—and the landscape of the Hudson Valley—through the lens of their own cuisine and personal history. Beyond the dining experience, the Residency included virtual education, conversations, cooking classes, to-go boxes for home cooks, and much more.
Each of these chefs explored the intersection of cooking and farming—but also culture, identity, community and health—as they cooked their way to a vision for food that is so much greater than the sum of its parts.
THE RESIDENT CHEFS
The Residency’s boundary-shattering chefs brought their unique stories and culinary perspectives to the stove as they interpreted the ingredients of our farm and region.
Season One (January – May 2021)
Chef Shola Olunloyo explored the roots of Nigerian cooking by celebrating the bounty of the Hudson Valley. His residency focused specifically on the cuisine of southwestern Nigeria, a rich agricultural and culinary foodway. Chef Bill Yosses, White House pastry chef during the Obama administration, created desserts inspired by precolonial Nigerian sweets to complement Chef Olunloyo’s menus.
Named Esquire magazine’s 2020 “Chef of the Year,” Omar Tate is also a deeply insightful poet and historian. Chef Tate presented a menu that explored Blackness in America through the lens of Northeastern migration.
Chef Johnny Ortiz is a Taos Pueblo Indigenous chef and a former sous-chef of the three-Michelin-star restaurant Saison. Chef Ortiz focused on interpreting the Indigenous foodways of the American Southwest through a Hudson Valley perspective.
A New York Times three-star chef, Victoria Blamey—formerly of Gotham Bar & Grill—is a veteran of some of the world’s most celebrated kitchens. Chef Blamey rounded out the first season with an exploration of her Chilean roots.
Season Two (MAY – September 2021)
Pitmaster Bryan Furman brought his signature pit-smoked barbeque, along with a focus on heritage hog breeds, seasonal side dishes made from Hudson Valley produce and orchestrated by his mom Almeta Benjamin, and the art of choosing woods for smoking.
Chef Jorge Vallejo is the chef and owner of Quintonil in Mexico City, named to the prestigious World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. He is deeply passionate about local and regional foodways and farming, and applied Mexican traditions and techniques to the early summer bounty of Stone Barns and the greater Hudson Valley.
Most recently head chef at Copenhagen’s legendary Relae restaurant after training at Noma, Chef Jonathan Tam used his residency to explore traditional Chinese technique and Cantonese heritage cooking, reinterpreted with Hudson Valley ingredients, as he prepared to open his own restaurant JATAK in Copenhagen.
During her residency Chef Adrienne Cheatham, a veteran of Manhattan’s Le Bernardin and Red Rooster, used the Hudson Valley as a backdrop to continue her exploration of the evolution of Southern and soul food over time and the integration of global influences into these iconic food cultures.
Chef Pam Yung, who earned a Michelin star for her Brooklyn chef’s counter Semilla, closed out Season Two of Chef in Residence with a late-summer pizza experience, emphasizing freshly milled whole grain doughs and seasonal toppings sourced from the farm.
Our interdisciplinary campus invited the Resident Chefs into new realms of their work while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of our own innovation efforts at the intersection of culinary arts and agriculture. In addition to overseeing the dining program, the chefs partnered with our education team to produce a robust suite of programmatic content for the public.
The Chef in Residence program was made possible with generous support from:
Leslie K. Williams and James A. Attwood, Jr.
Jocelyn Carpenter and Daniel Regan
Andrea and Eric Colombel
Mary and Kenneth Edlow
Donovan Family Fund
Kate and Peter Kend
Terri and Richard Kim
Indra and Raj Nooyi
Debbie and Jeff Samberg
Amy and John Weinberg
Zwilling J A Henckels LLC
In partnership with American Express
Stone Barns Center is committed to increasing our impact; Chef in Residence was the first step toward transforming our campus into an interdisciplinary gastronomic institution. Perhaps the most powerful results of this project are the ideas that continue to percolate between farmers, cooks, educators and diners well beyond the life of any one program or experience.