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Monday, June 13, 2011
Farm-to-Table Cuisine in Connecticut - with a 'Twist'!
I didn't realize, until I read this article below on The Feast, that the same month (May) that I moved out of Greenwich and back to NYC, a wonderful Chef and friend of my mom's, Chef Francois Kwaku-Dongo of L'Escale, also left town for a new venture. Although my friends and family may miss me, an entire community of Greenwich & Fairfield Counties, Westchester County and NYC foodies looking for an escape will miss him.
Chef Francoise (as my mom calls him) moved north in May to prepare to open two new restaurants located at the newly branded Madison Beach Hotelin the coastal town of Madison, CT. The restaurants are: The Wharf and Tides on the Sound. He describes his new restaurants as a "twist" to farm-to-table cuisine - as he will cook with fresh local ingredients and also says his menu will be 80% seafood.
Finally a world renown chef is uncovering the beautiful seacoast and farms that Connecticut has to offer. As Chef Francois has been so creative with his delicious & elegant dishes at L'escale, moving up to Madison is an opportunity to be actual neighbors to many Connecticut farms.
I was introduced to local farm-to-table meals for the first time at restaurants like Scopa & Barndiva in Sonoma County's culinary jewel of Healdsburg, California. The food at these restaurants are unbelievably delicious and you can taste and smell the farm-fresh ingredients in every single bite. It truly carries the culinary experience to a whole other level. It is also both relaxing & exciting when the menus online are just samples and the actual menu changes each day depending on what the restaurant has fresh from the farms. Chef Francoise will embrace this daily menu for a number of his dishes in his two new restaurants.
To top it off, Chef Francoise is extremely friendly and has such a unique life growing up in the Ivory Coast and quickly proving his multiple talents in the Epicurean world, working with Wolfgang Puck as his mentor.This may be my local answer to Healdsburg, with an East Coast "twist". Madison is LUCKY to have him...and remember Local Farms, The Madison Beach Hotel & Chef Francoise are only a car-ride away!
and Chef Francois Kwaku-Dongo, the acclaimed Wolfgang Puck protege who's presided over the kitchen at Greenwich's L'Escale since 2005, has decided to leave the famed dining destination and head north for a similar position at the rebranded Madison Beach Hotel. Kwaku-Dongo left L'Escale on May 1. On or around July 1, he will open two restaurants, The Wharf and Tides on the Sound, at the family-owned boutique hotel that just finished a massive renovation.
"I was looking for a place where I could serve locally-produced cuisine, and where I could meet farmers and be part of a small community," Kwaku-Dongo tells The Feast. "Our menu will be more influenced by New England [than it was at] L'Escale. It's my twist on farm-to-table dining and will probably be about 80-percent seafood."
Kwaku-Dongo was raised in Ivory Coast. After attending college in Manhattan, he worked as a Sous Chef under Francesco Antonucci at Remi and later caught the eye of Puck. He served under the famed celebrity chef throughout the nineties, holding Executive Chef titles at SpagoWest Hollywood and Spago Chicago before relocating to Greenwich.
Madison, CT is a beautiful CT historic beachtown on Long Island Sound, great for relaxing, biking, farmstands, kayaking and spending time with your family. The sunsets are some of the most beautiful I have ever seen and is not too far from wine-tasting, antiquing and much more crowded and touristy yet fun for kids, Mystic, CT.