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Max ‘Chef to Farm’ Series Kicks Off Thursday with Dinner by West Hartford Chef

Strawberries will play a major role in the Berries & Blossoms dinner, the first in Max Restaurant Group's 9th Chef to Farm Series. Photo credit: Nick Caito

The 2016 Max Chef to Farm Series begins at Rosedale Farms & Vineyards on Thursday, and features the cuisine of Hunter Morton of Max’s Oyster Bar in West Hartford.

Dinner guests at Berries & Blossoms will dine al fresco under a large white tent at Rosedale Farms & Vineyards. Photo credit: Nick Caito

Dinner guests at Berries & Blossoms will dine al fresco under a large white tent at Rosedale Farms & Vineyards. Photo credit: Nick Caito

By Ronni Newton

The culinary journey will begin Thursday night with a brief reception before guests at “Berries & Blossoms” – the season’s first dinner in the Max Restaurant Group’s 9th annual Chef to Farm Series – head out for a tour of the actual farm from which parts of the dinner they are about to eat have been picked just hours before.

Guests at Max Restaurant Group's Chef to Farm events dine al fresco at a long table adorned with candles and a crisp tablecloth. Photo credit: Nick Caito

Guests at Max Restaurant Group’s Chef to Farm events dine al fresco at a long table adorned with candles and a crisp tablecloth. Photo credit: Nick Caito

After touring the fields of Rosedale Farms & Vineyards in Simsbury, and learning a bit about the farm’s background and products, guests will move to a large tented area for an al fresco, candlelit dinner prepared by West Hartford’s Hunter Morton, executive chef of Max’s Oyster Bar. Many of the ingredients will come straight from Rosedale Farms, or from other local farmers or fishermen.

Morton, along with Max Catering & Events Executive Chef Steve Michalewicz, will lead the team of chefs who will prepare dinners on farms in Connecticut throughout the summer months, celebrating the unique bounty of homegrown and home-raised food.

Max Restaurant Group Operations Manager Bobby Venetianer is excited about starting up the popular series with Berries & Blossoms at Rosdale Farms & Vineyards.

Strawberries will play a major role in the Berries & Blossoms dinner, the first in Max Restaurant Group's 9th Chef to Farm Series. Photo credit: Nick Caito

Strawberries will play a major role in the Berries & Blossoms dinner, the first in Max Restaurant Group’s 9th Chef to Farm Series. Photo credit: Nick Caito

Rather than just enjoying a meal, diners will have the opportunity to learn about the farm and the farmers, and see what they do and how they interact with the community, Venetianer said. “It’s special because some of the produce that will be served is picked that day on that farm,” he said.

The atmosphere is festive and social, said Venetianer. “You’re at a long table, dining under the stars. It’s interactive and fun,” he said.

Berries & Blossoms begins at 6:30 p.m., on Thursday, June 16. Strawberries have a major role on the menu which includes a Strawberry bruschetta, Roasted Rosedale Strawberry Salad, and Strawberry Upside Down Cake for dessert. Fresh spring produce also highlight the Chilled Sweet Pea Soup. Entrees include Poached Stonington Fluke and Grilled Moroccan Spiced Sepe Farms Lamb Kabob. For the complete menu, click here.

Fresh local seafood and greens highlight Max Restaurant Group's Chef to Farm dinners. Photo credit: Nick Caito

Fresh local seafood and greens highlight Max Restaurant Group’s Chef to Farm dinners. Photo credit: Nick Caito

Chef to Farm dinners are held every week or two from June 16 through October. Future themes include Vintage 2016; BBQ, Brews & Bluegrass; Local Catch: A Celebration of Long Island Sound; and Corn: How Sweet it Is!

“We are thrilled that the people are excited once again to attend our Max Chef to Farm events this year,” said Venetianer. “I look forward to seeing what Chefs Hunter and Steve bring to the table this season.”

Berries & Blossoms, like all the Chef to Farm dinners, will be rescheduled in the event of extreme weather, but will take place in light rain because guests will be protected from the elements under a tent. Those with reservations will be notified via email if the event is canceled, and Venetianer suggests also checking the website for weather-related updates.

For more information, please contact Bobby Venetianer at [email protected]. The summer schedule and information can be found at www.maxcheftofarm.com. For more information about Max Restaurant Group, visit their website.

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