The Tastemakers' Table - Community Table with Dane Tashima - Gather

Featured above: Bare XL Bowl, Pinch Plates, Burl Oval Bowl, Honeycomb Salad Plate + Pinch Oval Vase 

For our summer edition of the Tastemakers' Table we collaborated with photographer Dane Tashima and Chef Paul Pearson of Community Table to inspire you to gather your family and friends around a big table and delight them with a meal composed of seasonal offerings while at the same time keep it comfy and relaxed. Dane chose the pieces from our collections that exude his rustic modern sensibility. And oh yes, Chef Paul shared a favorite recipe too.

When you step inside Community Table you can’t help but be enchanted by the beauty of the space while at the same time feel completely at home.

Designing Community: Keith and Peggy Anderson along with their daughter, Greta, opened Ct as a gathering place and hub in the local community offering guests a place to come and enjoy local inventive food and drinks in an upscale relaxed atmosphere.  They chose to support the local farmers, producers and artisans in the community along the way.  The space reflects Peggy’s Scandinavian roots with drool worthy hand painted wallpaper in the bar area ( by Swedish designer Josef Frank), comfy sheepskins soften the live edge wood of the massive u-shaped bar and of course, a moose head from Norway. The main dining room features the "community table" – a huge walnut slab table that seats 12 crafted by Alfred Brown of nearby Warren. All of the smaller tables were made from walnut trees felled on the property.  This gem of a restaurant in New Preston, Connecticut is the embodiment of all that Danny and I love about living in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut, making the most of the natural beauty of the area, the farms and the talents that are in abundance.

The cozy chic bar room at Ct. We added our Battuto XL Vase with some gorgeous spring branches

Having moved to Connecticut a year ago, I've been taking advantage of our amazing abundance of farm stands in the area.  We love a last-minute dinner guest, so we'll pick up whatever is freshest at the farm stand and then come home and Google how to use it.  So there's been a lot of impromptu entertaining and impromptu recipes.  And that is what first drew me to Community Table: a place casual enough to treat as a neighborhood drop-in restaurant, but one with exquisite skill that embraces seasonality and sourcing its ingredients locally.  Nothing beats freshness, and dragging those raw radishes through Paul's beet and feta dip was heavenly.

- photographer + stylist Dane Tashima

 

Featured above, on our one-of-a-kind Gilded Battuto Platter that awesome Beet + Feta Dip and on our Burl Cheeseboard Chef Paul's addictive Parker House Rolls. Morel toast adorns our Pinch Salad Plate. A selection of cheeses and honeycomb on our Honeycomb Salad Plate.

Chef, where do all your exceptional ingredients come from?

The food at Ct is driven by seasonality and what’s available to us from the surrounding area.  We use as many local providers as possible.  Lettuces come from Earths Palate Farm in Warren, other produce from Marble Valley Farm in Kent where Megan produces some of the very best radishes, spring onions, greens and loads more products that I’ve ever seen.  We use ancient grains and flours grown and milled in the Hudson Valley and Maine.  Fish is delivered to us daily from ‘Jimmy the fish’ a guy who drives down to the Fulton Fish Market and hand selects and delivers the fish all by himself.  We also work with Farm2tables and Hudson Valley Harvest who deliver from a co op of farms located across the Hudson Valley and Connecticut.  We even forage for some products throughout the season like ramps, spruce tips, wild mustard and sorrel.  And we grow our own tomatoes, nasturtium, currants, elderflowers and herbs.

Left: Pinch Plates, Honeycomb Salad Plate, Perch Bowl  Middle: Burl Oval Bowl  Right: Bare Large Round Bowl, Bare Serving Bowl, Kashmir Small Oval Platter

There are lots of farm to table restaurants - what makes your food so special?

We always try to keep the ball rolling forward and continue to learn new techniques that add different nuances to the food.  For example, we gather the elderberries from the trees in our garden and turn them into “capers” so when we need to add a blast of salinity we have something on hand which has been made in house.  From there we may dehydrate the capers and turn them to a powder which seasons a kale chip that adds an unexpected pop of flavor to a lamb dish for example.  We make a lot of different vinegars, using scraps of fruits and alcohols.  We infused fresh spruce tips into honey which we then turned into a vinegar.   Whenever there’s a few dregs left in the keg of beer, a mother is added and we produce a beer vinegar which we add to a sauce or glaze with fermented black garlic that’s painted on our steak just before serving.  We try to utilize the whole ingredient respecting the time and effort it took someone to grow and deliver to us.  We use whole pigs from Raven and Boar, the best pork I’ve ever used, turning the belly into bacon, the jowls into guanciale which we serve with emmer rignetti and peas.  Overall its about fostering relationships with farmers and growers who share our same values, which in turn is served to guests who appreciate the food and can help support the local food community.

The bar at Ct follows the same lines as the food and we like to feature as many small batch artisan labels as possible.  Our head Bartender Michael works closely with Kent Falls Brewing to supply our draft beers. We proudly serve Litchfield Distillery spirits who also source products for their spirits locally like corn from Lion Rock Farm in Sharon.  Juices are squeezed daily just before service.  Drinks are seasonal too, featuring syrups, cordials and bitters derived from fruits in season. For this meal Michael mixed a Lavender Bees Knees.

Left:  End the meal with Bare Coupes, Battuto Espresso Cups  Right: portrait of Chef Paul Pearson

Chef, what’s on the menu today?

slow cooked black bass, seaweed and buckwheat noodles, white asparagus and spring garlic broth 

whipped feta and beet dip with seeded crackers, parker house rolls, CT morel toast with ramp butter 

maple glazed chicken breast, smoked milk and toasted hay bread sauce, morels and ramps ( side dish jumbo french white asparagus)

 scallop crudo, fermented green strawberry, rhubarb, lime and mint 

 raw tuna, rhubarb aguachile, sorrel and toasted buckwheat

 english pea soup, coach farms goats cheese and mint pesto

reginetti pasta with peas and braised artichokes, stracciatella and mint 

 praline ice cream and coconut sorbet 

 

OK….well, these are inspiring dishes for sure.  And having tasted them…I can tell you they are spectacularly delicious.  Something perhaps to aspire to creating at home. But Chef Paul was kind enough to offer us his recipe that delighted me and Dane so much (particularly with those addictive Parker House Rolls) we just kept going back for another swipe. You’ve got to try it.  And you’re welcome.

Beet and feta dip

3 pounds raw red beets

400g feta whipped in a food processor until smooth

200g greek yogurt

15g forum cabernet vinegar

35g picked chopped dill

30g honey

5g toasted and ground caraway

Salt to taste

 

Toss the beets with olive oil, salt and brown sugar to coat Place in a ovenproof pan and add enough water to come ½ way up the beets. Cover with foil and roast 375 until tender, about a hour and a half. Remove from the pan and leave to cool until you can handle the beets. Peel the skins and grate on a box grater. Place all into a bowl and mix with a rubber spatula. Taste for seasoning and then place into a clean container and chill in the fridge for 2 hours. Serve along side crackers, raw vegetables or crostini.

 

ABOUT THE CHEF:

Originally from York in England, Chef Paul Pearson started in a professional kitchen at 14, and then did an apprenticeship at the same hotel at 16 learning the basics and fundamentals of a kitchen. He went on to work in Oxford at Le Petit Blanc (Raymond Blanc bistro)  and then moved to London to work at Belvedere in Holland Park for Marco Pierre White, and then back to a small family run restaurant in York called Meltons . From there he moved to Bermuda, and then landed in the States at a boutique hotel in Lenox Massachusetts, worked up the ranks there and moved to Chicago to work with Bruce Sherman at North Pond where he really started to work with local farms and seasonal ingredients. He moved back to the east coast to be the Chef of Seasons at The Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island.   Then onto the White Hart in Salisbury, CT to reopen the restaurant n 2014. After 3 years there  (where we met him for the first time)  Paul then moved onto Ct to reopen the restaurant in 2018 with managing partner Joann Makovitzky and the Anderson family. 

Visit Community Table www.communitytable.com

Follow on IG  @pavypearson and @communitytable

 

ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER

Born and raised in Texas with stops in Hawaii, Dane Tashima and his family are happily settled in the hills of Connecticut.  He’s frequently traveling and shooting with clients that include West Elm, CB2, Anthology, Target, Lands End, Jayson Home, Tatine and so many more.

Learn more about Dane www.danetashima.com

Follow on  IG @danetashima

 Want even more inspiration? Check out our previous Tastemaker's Tables.