Winning a James Beard Award may be one of the greatest honors a chef can attain, but being asked to prepare a dish for the awards ceremony gala event — which crams a crowd of 1800 high-profile foodies into New York's Lincoln Center — isn't too shabby, either. This year, Craig Tresser and Eric Warnstedt from Hen of the Wood  in Waterbury were asked to participate. Makes sense, given that the celebration's theme is "Artisanal America: The Craft of Cuisine."
"A couple weeks ago we got a letter in the mail that was addressed to both of us," Warnstedt dishes: "We had to send in three menu ideas and they have to make sure there's no crossover" with dishes created by other invited chefs.
Of the three offerings they're proposing, Tresser and Warnstedt are setting their hopes on one that's simple, yet elegant: domestic prosciutto topped with Jasper Hill Farm 's Bayley Hazen Blue and drizzled with sweet stuff from Honey Garden Apiaries in Hinesburg.
Asked how long it will take to whip up 1800 plates of food, Warnstedt remarks, "We're last-minute planners, so we'll probably kind of wing it. We're trying to keep it simple so that we can have some fun while we're down there."