By Linda Viertel–
Local Michelin two-star culinary destination, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and its world-renowned Chef, Dan Barber, will be launching a new, seasonal four-chef residency program next year. The project has been in the works for some time, but its announcement was delayed because of COVID-19.
Each chef will have the opportunity to step into a world-class kitchen, sourcing local ingredients from the farm and the Hudson Valley’s bountiful region. While they are in residence, the restaurant will adopt the name of that chef’s restaurant, as in “…at Stone Barns.” Barber will be overseeing these agriculturally-minded chefs but will step away from the kitchen to run his thriving catering operation and grow his list of unique brands.
Barber created the original Blue Hill restaurant in Greenwich Village in 2000, later Blue Hill at Stone Barns in 2004, with his brother David and sister-in-law Laureen Barber. The Barbers’ new concept of rotating chefs, developed in consultation with staff, will allow for more culinary, cultural and gender diversity while providing chefs who may have lost their restaurants due to the pandemic a chance to continue working and honing their skills in both a state-of-the-art kitchen and at a fabled destination restaurant.
A recent Q&A with the Blue Hill administration offers further insight into some of the current programming at both locations during COVID-19 as well as a glimpse into the future:
According to Blue Hill, the chef-in-residence program will provide a platform for a diverse set of chefs reflecting different experiences, backgrounds, and cultures. The visiting chefs will interpret the farm and Hudson Valley region through their own lens and showcase their talent to a new audience.
In addition, in March, Blue Hill partnered with the Stone Barns Center to create resourcED, a program to strengthen local food systems and support independent farmers and restaurant workers during the pandemic. ResourcED boxes include a variety of fresh ingredients and cooking instructions for a dish that will service two to four people. They are available for pick up at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Blue Hill New York, and many other locations in Long Island and Connecticut.
In early July, Blue Hill launched the “Picnic at Stone Barns,” which is entirely outdoors and takes place rain or shine (reservations required). Blue Hill Private Events and Blue Hill On the Road will continue to host outdoor events.
Blue Hill Market will resume online offerings by the end of August. Picnic gift certificates and special events favors are available through the website, and select items are being sold through the Stone Barns Center Farm Store.
While the dining rooms will not operate as Blue Hill in 2021, all other aspects of Blue Hill will continue to be fully operational, including Private Events on-site at Stone Barns, catering off-site gatherings through Blue Hill On The Road, the Blue Hill Market, and resourcED.
James Beard award-winning Chef Barber has always been ahead of the food curve when it comes to sustainability: utilizing under-appreciated ingredients in unique dish creations, using on-site compost to heat a dining space, creating Row 7 – an organic seed company built by chefs, farmers, and plant breeders, and supporting wheat growers to supply wholesome heirloom organic wheat milled at the restaurant’s bakery site. His books have inspired chefs and restaurateurs, and his thoughtful essays have pushed the envelope for growers and food suppliers. Now, it’s his time to envision what a hybrid restaurant will look like in 2021 while maintaining a connection to Blue Hill through catering, the Blue Hill Market and a continued commitment to independent farmers and restaurant workers. And, who knows? Perhaps the revered Blue Hill at Stone Barns will return with Chef Barber at the helm in 2022. Stay tuned.