Chautauqua (www.ciweb.org) Goes Farm to Table
To anyone who has visited the Athenaeum Hotel at Chautauqua Institution the will see the support we give to local farmers and purveyors of culinary arts. From the spring and fall farm to tables that invite guests to enjoy the Athenaeum pre and post season to Heirloom Restaurant that utilizes local ingredients throughout the nine week summer season.
To ensure that we keep up with growing season and local trends the communication between the growers and Chef Travis Bensink (in photo) must be open and ongoing. During the winter current winter months the focus is on root vegetables and any greenhouse items that locally sourced. Places like the Bio Dome in Jamestown NY are a great place to get items this time of year as they focus on the indoor gardening concept.
They provide year round growing for many greens, herbs and vegetables. As far as root vegetables Abers Acres in Kennedy Ny grows and provides year round opportunity for purchasing items like finger ling potatoes, beets, sweet potatoes and other various items. Canning and curing are also very important in our industry during the winter months as the availability is limited as to what we can receive.
Planning ahead and having an idea of what you will need and use is extremely important. With all these things tying together the farm to table concept most local restaurants can be successful in still serving fresh local ingredients during the winter months.
Chef Bensink joined the Athenaeum Hotel in March 2014. A native of Chautauqua County, he previously served as Executive Chef of Starmount Forest Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina and prior to that was Events Chef and Lead Sous Chef at Print Works Bistro at the Proximity Hotel — also in Greensboro. He is a Certified Culinarian through the American Culinary Federation and a member of the Guilford Technical Community College Advisory Board. Since his arrival, the Athenaeum Hotel has launched Heirloom Restaurant and is continuing its focus on supporting local farmers and producers.