A Moveable Feast comes to Thompson
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Regional - posted Mon., Nov. 26, 2012
The menu at the Northeastern Connecticut's Chamber of Commerce Tastefully New England: A Moveable Feast event on Nov. 16 read like a dream. There was roast prime rib, mini braised veal osso bucco and slow-cooked pot roast. Chilean sea bass and braised lamb, pulled pork sliders and sushi welcomed diners who gathered at the 15th annual event held at the Raceway Restaurant in Thompson. Fifteen area restaurants and caterers put out the best they had to offer. Selections included appetizers, side dishes, entrees and desserts. The crowd willingly gave every dish its due.
NECCC Executive Director Betti Kuszaj said the event was a great opportunity to showcase the services and talents of the participating businesses. It is also a signature fundraising event for the Chamber. This year, proceeds went to provide a $2,000 scholarship to Quinebaug Valley Community College students, and a $5,000 contribution to the Day-Kimball Healthcare Emergency Room project. “We try to give back to the community,” Kuszaj said.
Guests picked up trays on entry and were free to pick from the array of offerings. Silent auction items included a guest DJ slot at WINY, four hours of sailing on the sloop, “Down East,” and an Apple iPhone.
Richard Naumann, chef and owner of The Inn at Woodstock Hill, called the feast one of the premier food service events of the year. “The Chamber is an important business partner,” Naumann said. He and his crew were passing out samplings of late autumn salad topped with flat iron steak and roasted vegetable risotto. “The Chamber connects the members, but we're also connected through other organizations,” he said. “This is a way to work together and help each other.”
Bill and Joanne Bourque of Central Coffee Company offered samples of their micro-roasted coffee. “Ours is like a brewery for coffee,” Bourque said. “We're the only company to roast it locally.” He said the event was a great way to thank his customers. “It's nice to see my customers. Everyone's so busy, but here there's no appointment necessary,” he said.
Renee Berube, owner of Renee's Working Girl Caterers, was participating in the feast for the first time. “I came to three previous events as a guest,” she said. “I kept saying, 'I can't wait to be there myself.'” One of the dishes she, Scott Lichtman and Lacey Mozzarella handed out was an adult macaroni and cheese. “Adults really appreciate and enjoy it,” she said. “They really want kids' food. It's comfort food. It's nostalgia.” Hers was made with 10 different cheeses, seasoned bread crumbs and spices to give it a kick.
Chef and owner Scott Plantier of the Mansion at Bald Hill said the evening was an unusual opportunity for him to interact with his customers. “I'm in the kitchen all the time,” he said. He passed out portions of fried goat cheese, cider-brined turkey and heirloom greens. “We're all so busy,” he said. “This gives us a chance to network and see what each other is doing. It raises the bar.”
Kuszaj said the best part of the event was seeing everyone have a good time. “Members loved the venue. We had more guests than ever before,” Kuszaj said.
Sharon DiMarco has attended the Moveable Feast for four years. It's a great chance to meet people, taste food and make friends, she said. “My husband is happy because he knows I'll come home with a treat for him,” she said. Then she went in search of the Vanilla Bean Cafe's table for an Almond Joyful.