Sunday, September 28 at 4:00 pm

Sunday Speaker Series: Michael Ballon on A Chef’s Life: Farm-to-Table Cooking in the Berkshires

Ballon-A Chef's LifePlease join us at on Sunday, September 28, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (29 Main Street) for a delightfully delicious discussion with Chef Michael Ballon, author of the new book, A Chef’s Life: Farm-to-Table Cooking in the Berkshires.

Michael Ballon has written a memoir/cookbook, in which he reveals some of his insights and experiences from running the Castle Street Café in Great Barrington for 25 years. The book intersects of a number of very popular subjects: personal memoir, the locavore movement, and ethnic cooking to name but a few. Unlike his first book, The Castle Street Café Cookbook, this new book is not primarily a cookbook, although it does include some recipes. It is part memoir about what it is like to be a chef and run a restaurant in the Berkshires, and it profiles and interviews some of the local farmers Ballon has gotten to know. The book discusses how chefs and farmers interact, how chefs are inspired by farmers, and includes some beautiful photos of local farms, including Indian Line Farm, which was the first Community Supported Agriculture Farm in the Berkshires.

The book includes the Café’s original menu from 1989, the second side of which credits the local farmers who supplied the Café. Long before the phrase “Farm to Table” became common place, Castle Street Café was serving farm to table cuisine. Some of the topics discussed include: Blueberries and the Beginnings of a Chef, In Praise of Braising, Farmers, Foragers, and Deconstruction, Vegetable Chic, No One Likes Kohlrabi, The Chef Has No Clothes On, Familiarity Breeds Content, Timeless Classics and Old Warhorses, A Latke Went to Indonesia, Wrestling with Bones, Gathering the Last Fruits of Summer, Mitzvah Meal, Is fusion Confusion, and Gazpacho for the Soul.

Ballon-MichaelAbout the author: Chef Michael Ballon opened the Castle Street Café in 1989, after 10 years cooking in New York City.

Located in downtown Great Barrington next to the historic Mahaiwe Theater, the Café has received rave reviews from the day it opened.

Prior to moving to Great Barrington, Ballon cooked in New York, as Executive Chef at Lavin’s , Sofi, Wood’s, The New York City Bar Association, and Plum’s, a full service catering company

Michael is also The Roundtable Chef on WAMC Public Radio, where he hosts a bi-weekly cooking show which is broadcast over a large area of New York State and western New England. Recipes with photos appear bi-weekly on the Public Radio website.

Michael’s food essays also appear monthly in Berkshire Homestyle Magazine, a regional lifestyle publication distributed in the Berkshires and Albany area.

He was voted Berkshire Grown’s chef of the year in 2000.


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