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Creating Magic from Seasonal Ingredients Between Master Gardener & Head Chef at Woodstock Inn & Resort

Nov 17, 2022 03:46PM ● By Stephanie Hatley
The Woodstock Inn & Resort is known for its elegance and luxury. Uniquely designed, each room is cozy and comfortable, capturing the essence of Vermont. But beyond the charming suites is the farm-fresh cuisine of the resort’s on-site restaurants. Made from scratch, these creative dishes are inspired by the master gardener at the resort's Kelly Way Gardens and the executive chef. Benjamin Pauly founded the gardens in 2013 and is now the caretaker of more than 200 varieties of vegetables, 50 varieties of herbs and edible flowers, 75 varieties of berries and orchard plantings, a mushroom glen, and 200 varieties of cut flowers. Pauly and his team pick produce daily for new Executive Chef Matthew McClure and his staff to produce healthy entrees that also inform guests about the specialties grown in Vermont during various seasons. The certified organic produce is delivered to the on-site restaurants while the beautifully cut flowers decorate the interiors of the resort.

But Benjamin and Matthew have even more up their sleeves for the upcoming season. The new executive chef wants to intentionally focus on seasonality to create delectable entrees at the various restaurants. He explains, “The typical mindset of a chef is to conceptualize a dish and then get on the phone to order what’s needed. My plan is to turn that around. We will take what Ben grows in peak season, fill up our walk-ins, and create dishes around these parameters.” In addition to providing creative dishes for the on-site restaurants, Matthew will also use seasonal produce for catering events like weddings that are held year-round at the resort.

However, this change can’t happen without optimal communication between the chef and the gardener. Benjamin will use his expertise in growing and experience with the Vermont climate as well as his connections to local farmers to provide farm-fresh Vermont-grown produce and meats throughout the year. Matthew’s hope is “for the inn to become the culinary destination in New England.” He jokes, “There’s more to Vermont than maple syrup and apples!” The hope is that by spring of 2023, everything Kelly Way Gardens grows will be served in the restaurants and at events hosted by the Woodstock Inn & Resort.

Interested in grabbing a bite at one of Matthew’s restaurants this winter? Consider ordering the Heritage Berkshire Pork Chop from The Red Rooster one evening that consists of a coffee-rubbed bone-in pork chop with sweet potato puree and maple-apple bourbon sauce, served with seasonal vegetables from Kelly Way Gardens. Or if you’re looking for a lighter fare for lunch, try the Apple and Butternut Squash Soup with cinnamon croutons or the Woodstock Flatbread. Your taste buds won’t be disappointed!

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