When Chef Christopher Colom, Equus’ new executive chef, came to the Castle Hotel & Spa in Tarrytown, he fell in love immediately and wanted his food to capture the natural beauty of the place. Of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent, Colom grew up near farms in New Paltz and always felt he had an emotional connection to food. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, he spent time in California and Colorado honing his culinary skills before joining the team at Equus.
Equus Executive Chef Christopher Colom (right) with sous chef Beau Widener.
“I’ve never had a job outside of the kitchen,” Colom says, who was previously executive chef at Rye House in Port Chester before working as a chef consultant so he could focus on family. “I missed having a team and running my own shop,” Colom says. “I found the ad for Equus, [which has] views of the Hudson, the Tappan Zee, and Manhattan. The fact that this is an old castle and the ability to have a garden was really attractive to me.”
Pulpo a la plancha: octopus braised in beer, with grilled Kumato tomatoes, chorizo, crispy fingerling potatoes, and roasted-garlic-saffron aioli.
Upon getting the job, Colom thought about what kind of culture he wanted to create in his kitchen. Along with sous chef Beau Widener, who also has banquet experience, Colom made sure to hire people with a desire to do great things and work with the best products. “I want my people to feel empowered [and to] learn from failure,” Colom says, adding that cooking is a collaborative effort.
The Garden Room at Equus at Tarrytown’s Castle Hotel & Spa.
In developing the menu at Equus, Colom puts emphais on what’s current, fresh, and local. That includes working with Pete Taliaferro to source produce form his New Paltz Farm, near where Colom grew up. (“It’s literally where I used to ride by bike as a child,” muses Colom.)
Chili-rubbed quail with baby spinach, cornbread, bacon and a mole vinaigrette.
“My food has always been ingredient-driven,” Colom says. “It doesn’t matter the type of restaurant. It’s about the love you put into the execution of the food.” This is evident in all the dishes, like crisp greens from the garden or tender protens coming off the grill. “Let it speak for itself,” he says of his approach to food. “We treat it with love from the moment it comes in the back door to when it goes out to the table.”
Equus at Castle Hotel & Spa
400 Benedict Ave, Tarrytown
Curious for more insight into everything from weddings and local business happenings to golf and hearty Westchester eating? Surf through all of our daily blogs.