POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – Presidents, Executives, Chairmen, and Founders were all present for the plating of the “first meal” of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, Monday afternoon at Le’ Express Bistro & Bar located on New Hackensack Road.
Janet Crawshaw and Jerry Novesky, the publishers of The Valley Table magazine created the concept of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week as a means to connect chefs with local purveyors and help support local agriculture and farmers. Almost 10 years later, the event has attracted close to 200 participating local restaurants from Westchester to Columbia county.
“I have to say I didn’t really know at the beginning what we were getting into.”, recalls Crawshaw. We just thought it was a great idea. Why arent the chefs using the local products, why can’t we have a week or two to freally focus on that, and bring a great meal to people at a low price”. As a way to facilitate this concept, the Restaurnt Week committee holds several pre-events including a kick off night at the Culinary Institute of America where chefs and purveyors get a chance to meet and learn about each other.
The way it works is that restaurants reduce the price of lunch and dinner menus to make meals affordable to the general public. This in turn, encourages people to dine out, and boosts the general economy while allowing residents to discover new and interesting culinary fare.
Attending this afternoon celebration included Dutchess County Executive, Marcus Molinaro; Dutchess Tourism Executive Director Mary Kay Vrba; HealthQuest President Robert Friedberg;
Regional Chamber of Commerce President, Frank Castella, Jr, along with many other dignitaries and special guests.
John Lekic, the owner of Le’ Express (www.lexpresshv.com) provided a French / American cuisine using a farm to table approach that utilizes several local farms from Red Hook, Amenia, Millbrook, Highland, Wappingers Falls, and Fishkill.
“One of the things that is important for us restaurateurs is to connect with the local farmers and be the story tellers of the local region”, said Lekic
Restaurant Week runs through November 15th.