Hundred-plus dollar tasting menus are not at all uncommon in a region as ripe with outstanding restaurants as Westchester and the Hudson Valley. It is, however, rare to find one that benefits a cause as worthy as the Hudson Valley Cerebral Palsy Association.
Founded just this year, The Alchemy Project is a joint venture between Cassie and Rich Parente of Brewster’s Clocktower Grill and longtime friend Laura Lee Holmbo of marketing and management agency LL & Co.
“The Alchemy Project seeks to redefine the dining experience by bringing together a group of chef talent to create a tasting menu that transforms the diner’s senses,” says Holmbo. “Our giving strategy is to build bonds through an extraordinary meal that raises funds and awareness for a worthy local cause.”
“Our goal is to raise more than $10,000 for the Hudson Valley Cerebral Palsy Association. This concept really comes from what we like to do the most: getting people together for an amazing meal and giving back how we can.”
Transformative Tastes: An Evening of Inventive Dining will be held on Wednesday, May 2 at the Dramatic Hall in Peekskill Central Market. Participating chefs include host Rich Parente, Michael Cutney of Twisted Oak in Tarrytown, popular Brooklyn chef Desiree Tuttle of Achilles Heel, Peter Milano of Mahopac’s Dish Bistro & Wine Bar, John Poiarkoo formerly of Restaurant North in Armonk, David Santos of New York City’s Um Segredo Supper Club, Adam Slamon from the new Sloop Brewing Co. in Poughkeepsie, and Brandon Walker from Essie’s in Poughkeepsie.
“In the past we’ve done dinners bringing chefs together across the country. It was something that needed to start in the Hudson valley,” says Chef Parente.
“I’ve done dinners all over and it’s important to me to do it chefs that are like-minded and whose personalities are going to work well together. That’s what the dinner’s about: working with other chefs and learning from them.”
$150 gains guests admittance to a wine and beer reception from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by the tasting dinner from 7 to 9 p.m. $200 tickets upgrade this to a VIP reception featuring the participating chefs and wine expert Hervé Rousseau, with hors d’oeuvres by Chef Jerry Daniele of Ace Endico in Elmsford. At the highest level, $250 buys guests all of the above, plus an “enhanced” tasting meal experience on Dramatic’s upper level. All ticket sales benefit the HVCPA, an organization that has for 30 years dedicated itself to helping provide services to individuals afflicted with cerebral palsy and similar physical conditions.
“All the chefs use local farms. As far as [planning] the menu, we work together,” says Parente. And while you can expect the chefs to be able to cater to most dietary restrictions with their selection of fresh and local ingredients, the menu itself will remain secret until that very evening.
“You should be excited to see what the chefs are going to produce.”
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