There's a new pop-up in Connecticut, and let's just say it definitely doesn't suck. [oink], a venture between Chefs Craig Hutchinson and Alex Lishchynsky, made its Connecticut debut last Tuesday night at Medlyn's Farm in Branford, serving a seven course meal complete with beverage pairings. Hutchinson, the former Chef de Cuisine at Ribelle in Brookline, and Lischynsky, formerly the Chef de Partie at Il Buco Alimentari in NYC, have joined forces to "raise the bar on what a dining experience is at a restaurant."
"We really want to focus on responsibly sourcing our ingredients, from the food, to the plates, beers, wines and every small detail that makes a restaurant. [oink]'s big goal is to make each guest our number one priority. Serving food without hormones or antibiotics isn't enough as a chef to say we are up to date with feeding the public a healthier meal. We want to provide an experience that educates our guests about crop rotation, irrigation systems, what seasonality means, and other factors that go into growing vegetables or raising animals," says Hutchinson.
And at their Medlyn's Farm pop-up dinner they managed to do just that. Wanting to show off the raw, gritty side of farm life, the dinner was held in a concrete, greenhouse-style woodshed on the fourth generation family owned farm. The pork was from Walden Hill, a New England based procurer of sustainable acorn-fed pigs, and other ingredients were sourced from local farms, including Medlyn's Farm, Clover Nook, Massaro Farm and Folly Foot Farm, to name just a few. The beverage pairings included a Farmer's Table Saison from Kent Falls Brewing and a Peach Gose and Iron Hog Wet Hop IPA from Black Hog Brewing. To even further the Connecticut connection, the chefs cooked for their guests out of The Stand's food truck.
Guests were seated at assigned communal tables and serving was staggered to emulate a restaurant. We really liked this arrangement as we were able to converse with the people around us while being able to enjoy the meal at our own pace. The dinner itself was a tour of the pig, if you will. Dishes utilized the pork belly, loin, head and "the rest of the pig" to show the versatility of the animal. Non pork dishes like summer squash soup, chilled fusilli with corn, and apple cake with baby ginger, raw milk and caramel broke the dinner up and gave it a nice variety.
What's to come you ask? "We would love to have a location, I think that comes first," Hutchinson says. "Ideally, it would be on two or more acres of land in the New Haven area. How great would it be to be growing some of our own vegetables and herbs?"
We for one are thrilled to have such talented chefs joining the Connecticut food scene, and cannot wait to see what they have in store for us. You can experience [oink] for yourself at their Sandwich Pop-Up this Saturday, October 10, at Black Hog Brewery where they will be making fall inspired sandwiches starting at noon, and at their next pop-up dinner at Black Hog Brewery on November 13, 2015. Check our events page in a couple of weeks for details once they are released.