Anyone who's tasted the menu at Swoon Kitchenbar, Jeff and Nina Gimmel's brasserie-style restaurant in Hudson, knows their creative skill at interpreting international cuisines. But what they may not realize is that while the dishes may be global, the ingredients are mostly locally grown and made.
From family meals made with clams and oysters foraged from the beaches of Rhode Island during childhood vacations, to his stint as executive chef at Michael's New York, where he honed his focus on indigenous and seasonal ingredients, Jeff Gimmel has spent a lifetime practicing a culinary philosophy of ingredient-driven cuisine. "Local seasonal ingredients drive our menu," explains Gimmel. "Whenever possible, we buy from artisanal farmers and purveyors, focusing on natural and organic products. For us, the culinary, economic, and environmental benefits of sustainable local agriculture are undeniable - the food is tastier and healthier, the local economy benefits, and there is less negative environmental impact. Everyone wins."
Now Jeff and Nina are giving everyone a peek behind the kitchen door with their newly launched blog, SwoonKitchenBlog.
In the spring and summer growing seasons the Gimmel's visit their supplier's farms weekly to stock up on the fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses that are the ingredients for the sumptuously prepared dinners and lunches the restaurant serves. They have even been known to trek out to local creek beds in search of ramps, a delicacy with a short growing season, but a big following among gourmets. The blog allows readers to follow the Gimmels on their forays and track the food's journey from farm to plate.
A recent posting illustrated, in words and pictures, the making of a pork chop, from the purchase of a slaughtered 137 pound hog from North Wind Farm in Tivoli, through the 24 hour brown sugar brine in the Swoon kitchen, to the succulant pan-roasted pork chops served that week.
The blog will feature Jeff and Nina's postings and photos covering their trips to area farms, and discussions about what is in season and how these fresh ingredients are transformed into an ever changing delicious menu. "What we want to do is start a conversation about what we eat, how we live, and how those two ideas are connected," said Jeff. "We hope people not only read the blog, but participate in the ongoing dialog as well."
Swoon Kitchenbar is located in Hudson, New York at 340 Warren Street. Reservations can be by made by calling 518-822-8938. For more information about the Swoon menu, visit swoonkitchenbar.com.