Special Event
J. Bryce Whittlesey
J. Bryce Whittlesey

J. Bryce Whittlesey
Wheatleigh | Lenox, MA

Wednesday, September 17, 7:00 pm
Members $100, guests $125

In the 19th century, when the Hamptons were still potato country, New York’s first families used to escape from the bustle of city life to their Berkshire “cottages” (read: grandiose mansions) in the undulating hills of western Massachusetts. Edith Wharton summered there, and so did George Westinghouse, the Vanderbilts, the Morgans, and many more. The area was so crowded with millionaires, in fact, that it became known as the “Inland Newport.”

Nowadays, the Berkshires are no less popular with New Yorkers, who, between skiing, hiking, and concertgoing, have their choice of restaurants offering sophisticated, delicious food. This month, we’ve lured a chef from what may be the region’s best and loveliest dining rooms, J. Bryce Whittlesey from Wheatleigh in the Wheatleigh hotel, to give us a taste of Berkshires cuisine.

How best to convey Wheatleigh’s near-fabled status among Berkshire hideaways? Citysearch Boston came close when it described the sprawling Italianate villa as “Where God stayed while creating the Berkshires.” The grounds, by the way, were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The restaurant has a good name of long standing, with DiRoNA, AAA, and Wine Spectator awards to prove it. And since taking over the stoves in late 2002, chef Whittlesey has wasted no time putting his own stamp on the esteemed restaurant. Kate Sekules called him the hotel’s “new star” in her roundup of America’s 50 Best Hotel Restaurants for Food & Wine; New York magazine’s Tara Mandy pronounced his food “superb”; and Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report described the cuisine as “brilliant.”

Born and raised in Latin America, Whittlesey honed his French-inflected style in top kitchens on both sides of the Atlantic: post-CIA, he did time at Nantucket’s Chanticleer and at Boston’s Espalier under six-time Beard Award nominee Frank McClelland. He then spent five years with a battery of Michelin-starred chefs across France, Michel Rostang among them. Whittlesey’s menu at Wheatleigh applies rigorous French technique to pedigreed American ingredients like Broken Arrow Ranch venison or Taylor Bay scallops to delicious effect.

Chilled Tomato with White Soy and Lemon Verbena Essence

Escabèche of Sardines

Multilayered Omelettes

Roasted Baby Beets on Grilled Crostini with Monterey Chèvre

Fresh Chickpea Mousse with Golden Pea Tendrils

Tempura of Squash Blossoms

    Champagne Duval-Leroy Brut NV

Pan-Seared Carabinero with Lucques Olives, Shallot Confit, and Bitter Almond Foam

     Palacio de Menade 2002

Grilled Foie Gras au Torchon with Muscat Wine Gelée, Fresh Lychee, and Pickled Cherries

     Château St.-Jean Gewürztraminer 2001

Crispy-Skinned Daurade Royale with Black Mission Fig and Tomato Relish

     Domaine de l’Hortus Grande Cuvée 2001

12-Spice Lacquered Stone Church Farm’s Duclaire Duck with Indian Plums and Shaved Black Radish

     Château Pesquié Les Terrasses Côtes du Ventoux 2001

A Tasting of Stone Fruits: Plum, Apricot, and Peach

Earl Grey Truffles and Passion-Fruit Pâte de Fruit

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