Young chefs and their mentors to prepare five-course dinner at Crissey Farm for Berkshire County community.
Great Barrington, MA – Railroad Street Youth Project (RSYP), the dynamic youth empowerment nonprofit organization serving young people in southern Berkshire County, is pleased to announce that its much-anticipated Annual Culinary Arts Celebration will take place on Monday, December 7th at 5:30pm at Crissey Farm (426 Stockbridge Rd, Great Barrington, MA). This special evening is the culminating event for the RSYP Apprenticeship Program (RAP), which offers work-based apprenticeship opportunities to young people in southern Berkshire County.
Through RAP’s culinary arts apprenticeships, young people learn food preparation and presentation for eight weeks under five master chefs including Brian Alberg of The Red Lion Inn, Dan Smith of John Andrews Restaurant, Daire Rooney of Allium, Adam Brassard of The Williams Inn, and Zee Vassos of Firefly. These renowned local chefs mentor RSYP’s aspiring culinary professionals throughout the fall and guide them in preparing a five-course menu for their families, friends and the community. The evening will also include a certificate ceremony to honor the young chefs and a live service auction to support RSYP and its mission to empower youth.
“Last year was the first time we held a single dinner to honor our talented young chefs rather than two separate events,” says RSYP’s Executive Director Ananda Timpane. “We found that the single event really unified and galvanized the community around the program. We are so grateful for the support that the community has given us, and we look forward to making this year’s dinner as inspiring and memorable as last year’s.”
The program is a positive experience for both young and mentor chefs alike. Chef Adam Brassard, who has acted as a mentor chef for the past four years, says. “Working with kids is awesome, and what better way than through food? The energy and creativity they have for learning culinary arts is amazing. Their faces light up, and they truly enjoy what they cook. It’s fun!”
RSYP has presented these dinners since 2006, when RAP was first launched. Since then, over 200 young people from Berkshire County have participated in apprenticeships not only in the culinary arts, but also in cosmetology, photography, massage therapy and entrepreneurship, gaining valuable skills and experience and, in many cases, job opportunities with local businesses.
Nineteen year-old participant Katrina Hodes is enthusiastic about the program. “My passion is cooking,” she says. “I love making food for other people and I like that this apprenticeship program supports me in improving my skills.”
This is the second year Katrina has participated in the program. “I got an award last year and that was really nice,” she states. “It felt good to be recognized and I felt really proud. I still have the certificate in my room.”
Tickets to the Annual Culinary Arts Celebration will be on sale Saturday, November 1st for $125 per person. Tables are also available for purchase.
About the Participating Chefs:
Brian Alberg is executive chef and director of food and beverage at The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge and The Williams Inn in Williamstown. He is a staunch supporter of the local food movement and has established strong relationships with regional farmers and food producers, purchasing more than $650K in local foods annually.
Dan Smith is the owner and executive chef of John Andrews Restaurant in South Egremont. He is committed to buying local, organic, sustainable products and works with area small farmers and producers to develop his menu around their products.
Daire Rooney has been chef of Allium Restaurant + Bar in Great Barrington since 2012 after working as the personal chef to actress Meryl Streep, executive chef at De La Vergne Restaurant, executive chef at Brix in Pittsfield and as lead chef at the Augusta National Golf Club, home of the Masters Tournament.
Adam Brassard is the executive chef at The Williams Inn in Williamstown, where he is committed to using local, seasonal ingredients.
Zee Vassos, chef at Firefly in Lenox, continually creates dynamic and extensive menus that draw food lovers from all over New England.