Bringing The Catskills to Queens

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 8.14.48 AMThis summer, you’ll be able to enjoy the tastes of the Catskills without having to drive more than three hours! On August 1st, Flushing Town Hall will host the premier farm-to-festival event where more than 20 restaurants will put their own culinary spin on the agricultural bounty of The Catskills.

The event – which you can learn more about at – was designed by Joe DiStefano and David Noeth, a chef and hospitality professional with deep roots in the Catskills. DiStefano, a Queens-based food writer, told us what’s in store for this delicious mid-summer evening event!

Tell us about the concept of the event.

The idea behind The Catskills Comes to Queens is to showcase the agricultural bounty of The Catskills — farm fresh produce, grass fed beef, Heritage pork, farmstead cheeses — by putting it into the hands of fine chefs and thus creating a unique farm-to-festival food and wine tasting. We’re pairing New York State’s finest foods with New York City’s best chefs at the best venue in Queens.

How did you select the participants?

Several of the New York City restaurants are my personal favorites—like Ducks Eatery, M. Wells Steakhouse, and Danny Brown Wine Bar & Kitchen—and my business partner David insisted that we have some top flight upstate chefs like Ric Orlando of New World Home Cooking Co., Samir Hrichi of Ship to Shore, and Graziano Tecchio of Mint. All of our chefs share a commitment to good, clean food coupled with culinary creativity.

So are The Catskills known as a foodie destination?

The Catskills have long been a vacation destination for New Yorkers and are fast becoming a foodie haven, in fact Condé Nast Traveller dubbed the region “New York’s New Culinary Retreat” last fall. With everything from roadside farm stands and maple sugar shacks to the Lucky Dog Farm Store in Hamden, Vulto Creamery in Walton, Delaware Phoenix Distillery, and such wonderful restaurants like Table on Ten, we can see why.

When’s the last time you visited The Catskills?

The last time I visited was March. David just got back and had the privilege of dining at Table on Ten. I’m planning on making the trip this summer. This city boy is looking forward to a foraging lesson.

Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 8.15.54 AMHow did you get involved in the food world?

I’ve been into food since I was a kid, but what really turned me into a card-carrying foodie was moving to Queens and experiencing — read: tasting — my way through the borough’s many cultures. I’ve worked as a line cook, but it became pretty clear to me that I wasn’t cut out for that, so today I am a food writer and culinary consultant in addition to my role as vice president of New York Epicurean Events.

What are some of the dishes you expect to be on hand at the event?

With everything from Chaz Brown’s Asian-inspired fried chicken, to Ed Cotton’s rabbit charcuterie, to grilled lamb sliders and barbecue from New York City’s top pitmasters, it promises to be quite a party. The Michelin-starred Danny Brown will be preparing a torchon of foie gras and guinea fowl, and Landhaus will pay homage to Chinese street food with crispy tripe with Sichuan peppercorn and jalapenos. The Backyard BBQ will feature whole hog from Tyson Ho, cold smoked black angus beef, and foie gras hot dogs from our friends at Bella Bella Gourmet Foods.

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