By Shana Liebman–
There was no salisbury steak in sight at the ninth annual Phelps Food, Wine and Beer Fest, which took place on Sunday, April 30 at Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow. Instead, the foodie fest raised $45,000 for the hospital’s garden initiative.
Under the culinary direction of Phelps’ regional executive chef Andrew Cain — a Michelin-starred chef known for his work at California’s Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn — and executive sous chef Kelly Walker, the fest featured tastings and demos of signature dishes: mushroom and farro risotto with English pea puree and white truffle foam; and matcha and Valrhona white chocolate mousse with cherry compote and sesame granola. There were also international wines from Best Wine Purveyors, local craft beers donated by DeCicco & Son’s and hearty bites from local food trucks including Westchester Burger Company, Poke Motion, Gyro Uno, Arthur Ave Wood Fire Pizza and Jimmy’s Soft Serve ice cream truck.
Despite the incessant rain, and perhaps as a result of the many weather-thwarted golf games, a large crowd gathered to “celebrate the start of the spring season,” according to the chair of the Phelps Hospital Community Board, Kevin Plunkett. “All this rain is good for the gardens,” he said, putting a positive spin on the tented event.
The gardens — current and future — were indeed the beneficiaries of the festival. All proceeds from Sunday’s event funded the Phelps FARMacy initiative, a program in which hospital employees garden alongside kids from the Phelps’ day care center. Everyone gets a chance to learn about nature and work outdoors and the best part is that the harvest is donated to food insecure patients when they are discharged.
“Food not only nourishes our health but our soul,” said Chef Cain, who joined Phelps five years ago when 90% of the hospital’s food was frozen. Under his supervision, the entire hospital menu is now mostly organic and grass-fed.
In fact, the festival’s showcased dish—a creamy, nutty risotto with a bright pea puree — was recently served to patients. “We are preparing food on par with fine dining,” Chef Cain says, a mission he believes is central to improving patients’ health and quality of life.
Many of the festival attendees, who were enjoying not only Chef Cain’s dishes but also the burgers, poke and soft-serve from the trucks parked right outside the tent, sang the praises of Phelps’ food. Even Rebecca Martin, senior director of dining services for Phelps, had to admit that, even though it was a hospital, “the food here is so good that patients don’t want to leave!”Read or leave a comment on this story...