In October 2013, Eat Retreaters gathered to discover the bounty of the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Attendees led sessions in whole animal butchery, discussions on food media and technology, and the first Eat Retreat Food Swap.
I work on stories where I watch chefs cook, butchers prepare meat and mixologists create drinks. But here I got to to do all these things! Being immersed in everything I love to write about gave me a whole new perspective in approaching my own craft.
Alex Dixon, Eat Retreat alumni & journalist
Eat Retreaters ventured out around Seneca Lake to spend an afternoon with local producers and discover the bounty of the Finger Lakes.
Brian McKenzie and Thomas McKenzie of Finger Lakes Distilling hosted us for a distillery tour and spirit tasting. Eat Retreaters got to help make whiskey mash and run the still.
Eat Retreaters tasted farmstead cheeses, toured the aging rooms and tried their hand at cheesemaking with Nancy Richards of Finger Lakes Farmstead Cheese.
Steve, locally known as “Shiitake Steve,” and Anne Sierigk showed us their method of cultivating shiitake mushrooms in the forest. Attendees took home their own shiitake-inoculated log.
Red Newt Cellars hosted Eat Retreaters during the most exciting time of year: the grape harvest. After time on the crush pad, we experience a guided Riesling tasting.
Gimme! Coffee’s Benn Bartishevich and Daralyn Kelleher educated Eat Retreaters on single-origin beans, coffee flavor profiles and the roasting process.
Eat Retreaters explored how audio interviews add depth and a personal connection to the local food movement in a workshop led by local radio personality Michael Warren Thomas.
Attendees spent the morning with local baker Leslie Muhlhahn learning the art and science of bread baking and making loaves the old-fashioned way.
Eat Retreat brings together talented culinary minds and hearts to inspire and be inspired. Long after the last meal is cooked, the last discussion is had, you are left with an indelible mark. A longing to collaborate. A desire to create.
Bryan Mayer, Eat Retreat alumni & butcher
Samantha Buyskes is a pioneer of farm-to-table dining in her home region of the Finger Lakes, New York. She is a cooking instructor, pop-up restauranteur, and the culinary ambassador the the Finger Lakes.
Kathryn Tomajan is an olive miller who has made award-winning olive oil in California and Australia. She is a certified olive oil taster and serves on the Board of Directors for the California Olive Oil Council. She holds a master’s degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy.
Spending four days together in the kitchen, you get to know your fellow attendees on a level so authentic that you can’t help but kind of love them. It’s like it reverse-engineers family. It bypasses the awkward teen years and cuts straight to grown-up Thanksgiving dinners.
Rachel Adams, Eat Retreat alumni & food blogger