Tag Archives: Forrest Pasternack

Bailey’s Backyard Teams up w/ Berkshire Mountain Distillers + 109 Cheese for Decadent Dinner

10 Nov

Have you ever felt that tingle in your stomach, that feeling when you realize you’ve just fallen in love and your world will never be the same? Well, we’ve got to say that we felt the same kinda way when we first tasted the food of Chef Forrest Pasternack at Morello Bistro in Greenwich. And, having been to his new restaurant, Bailey’s Backyard in Ridgefield many times, we can safely say that it’s in our Top 5 restaurants here in Connecticut. But, it’s not just Chef that makes it amazing: it’s also the inventive and precise bartending skills of Bryan Walsh. That guy can mix up amazing drinks that are, like the food at Bailey’s, seasonal, local, and crave-worthy.

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Secret Ingredient Released for Battle of the Chefs with Chefs Pasternack, Storch, and Taibe

16 May
Grace Weber, executive director of Founders Hall, presents a fresh Pekin duck to Chefs Matt Storch, Forrest Pasternack and Jeff Taibe, who will be competing in Battle of the Chefs to benefit Founders Hall on Sunday, June 1, 4 -7pm, at Founders Hall.

Grace Weber, executive director of Founders Hall, presents a fresh Pekin duck to Chefs Matt Storch, Forrest Pasternack and Jeff Taibe, who will be competing in Battle of the Chefs to benefit Founders Hall on Sunday, June 1, 4 -7 pm, at Founders Hall.  Photo by Karen Rayda.

Oh, duck yeah!  The first ingredient for the appetizer round of the Battle of the Chefs at Founders Hall has been revealed.  On June 8, Chefs Pasternack (Bailey’s Backyard), Taibe (leFarm/The Whelk), and Storch (Match, The Chelsea), will need to use Peking duck in their appetizers.  For these three talented chefs, we don’t think they’ll have too much trouble…but the real challenge is putting out the best duck dish.  Duck can definitely be challenging, too.  It’s pretty easy to overcook and should be served rare to medium rare.  Plus, it does take lots of work to perfect that perfectly crispy duck skin.

All three chefs will be cooking up 200 servings for guests who will then vote for their favorites on June 1 from 4 to 7.  While all three chefs do have the advantage of planning out their attack with the Peking duck, they won’t be so lucky when it comes to the entrée round.  That’s because they’ll open a basket filled with secret ingredients and will have only 40 minutes to put a killer dish together.  A panel of judges will then discuss each dish and pick the winner of that round.  If you want a taste of the entrees, you can buy a special chef’s table ticket.  And, even if you don’t buy that, all tickets will get you enough hors d’oeuvre to fill up that belly, an open bar (oh yeah), and plenty of amazing desserts.

Tickets are now on sale at Founders Hall in Ridgefield, online, or by calling up (203) 431-7000.  Tasting Table Tickets are $500, Floor Seats are $200, and Stadium Seats are $125.  To read more about The Battle of the Chefs, please check out our introduction post and to learn more about the great work of Founders Hall, check out their site.

In Bloom: A Review of Chef Pasternack’s Spring Menu @ Bailey’s Backyard in Ridgefield

13 May
The back room at Bailey's Backyard also opens up to the outside for warmer weather...

The back room at Bailey’s Backyard also opens up to the outside for warmer weather…

It’s been a year since Sal Bagliavio and Executive Chef Forrest Pasternack worked together tirelessly to give Bailey’s Backyard a new vibe, a new focus on local food, and a new soul.  When we went for a pre-opening dinner back in April 2013, we were excited to see what Chef Pasternack was up to since he left Morello Bistro in Greenwich, where we first met him.  Our experience was amazing and we came back lots of times alone and with friends and family.  We came with our buddies Renato and Alicia, Jay and Ali, and even Kristien’s parents…closing the place down each time.  We even sent friends and colleagues, like Ashley and Rudy, Kristien’s hairdresser Ashley, Fran, Kelley & Mike, and many more… all who reported back with RAVE reviews. So, we couldn’t say no when we were invited back for a special writer’s dinner to introduce us to the spring drink and food menu, using local, in season ingredients.

Lucky us got the chance to literally taste almost the entire menu, and lucky you, we’re going to share all the juicy details!  Let’s take each dish in order of menu headings. Here we go…

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Chefs Pasternack, Storch, and Taibe Face Off at Battle of the Chefs for Founder Hall Fundraiser

12 Apr
Chefs Pasternack, Storch, and Taibe are preparing to do battle!  Photo from Karen Rayda

Chefs Forrest Pasternack of Bailey’s Backyard, Matt Storch of Match Restaurant in Norwalk, and Jeff Taibe of The Whelk and LeFarm in Westport will battle to benefit Founders Hall on Sunday, June 1, 4 pm, at Founders Hall.  Call 203-431-7000 for more information. Photo from Karen Rayda

Although June 1 is quite a while away, we wish we could fast forward to that date to witness an epic culinary battle at Founders Hall.  We speak of the Battle of the Chefs for Founder Hall where three chefs from Fairfield County will compete against each other in a food-infused brawl.  

Challenger 1:  Chef Forrest Pasternack of Bailey’s Backyard in Ridgefield.

Challenger 2:  Chef Matt Storch of Match in Norwalk

Challenger 3:  Chef Jeff Taibe of LeFarm and The Whelk…and a soon to open Japanese pub in Westport

All three challengers have extensive experience cooking a variety of cuisines, so it’ll be interesting to see what they bring to the plate.

This is how the night will go down:

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CT’s Chowdafest 2014 Winners Announced and Event Recap

2 Feb

Um…wow.  This year’s Chowdafest was really more like Chowdabest.  Over 7,500 people (when we get the actual numbers, we’ll share) came through the doors to slurp down killer soups, chowders, and bisque.  Chowda Chairman, Jim Keenan, told us this week that the presales at Stop & Shop had already topped the attendance record from last year.  And, that doesn’t include the massive amounts of people waiting to get inside of Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, either.  Christian Burns, owner of Ginger Man Norwalk and Greenwich and Cask Republic in New Haven and Stamford told us that the line to enter stretched outside for a bit.  What an amazing turnout and what a great show of force to support not only the restaurants and sponsors participating, but to also raise some vital funds and donations for The Connecticut Food Bank.  

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Bailey’s Backyard Hosts Local Farmers for Ultimate Farm-to-table Dinner

28 Oct

It’s always a strange moment.  

Invariably, people will ask us what our favorite restaurants are when we meet them or when they discover we have a food blog.  Although we spend countless hours writing about some of the best places in Connecticut and trying new places, our minds always seem to draw a blank.  But, then, we remember some of the best meals that we’ve had.  And, one of those places that we always mention to people is a quaint little restaurant in Ridgefield called Bailey’s Backyard.  We’ve been there three times already and plan to come back three hundred more times.  

Bryan Walsh is not only the mixologist, but is also in charge of the drink program at Bailey's

Bryan Walsh is not only the mixologist, but is also in charge of the drink program at Bailey’s

You might remember back in March we interviewed Executive Chef Forrest Pasternack (formerly of Morello Bistro in Greenwich) and we saw how deeply devoted he and Sal Bagliavio (the owner of Bailey’s) are to the farm-to-table principle.  Yes, we know that word gets thrown around and is quite overused.  But, at Bailey’s Backyard it’s a literal interpretation.  Forrest and staff hit up the local markets and visit nearby farms to build their menu on a daily basis.  

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Chefs Pasternack, Cook, and Ostrander to kick off Ridgefield Farmers’ Market Chef Series

3 Oct

Ridgefield Farmers' Market Chef Series Demos

When we talked with Chef Forrest Pasternack as he and owner Sal Bagliavio prepared to reopen Bailey’s Backyard, he told us of one of his dreams.  Having grown up in Ridgefield, he missed the Ridgefield Farmers’ Market that had shut down in 2012 and wanted it to reopen.  His wishes came true when it sprung up again this year.  Now Chef Pasternack is able to visit the market whenever he needs to load up on the local goodies that fuel his menu.  

Egg pappardelle at Bailey's Backyard in Ridgefield, CTSo, given how much he wanted the market to reopen, you could imagine how amazing he felt when he was asked to do two chef demos at the Farmers’ Market this October.  Giving demos with him this October is Chef Wirt Cook of Redding Roadhouse and Chef Scot Ostrander of Mama’s Boy Southern Table & Refuge.    You’ll be able to see Chef Pasternack demo on 10/9 and 10/30, Chef Cook demo on 10/16, and Chef Ostrander demo on 10/23 from 3-5 pm.  The market itself is open from Wednesdays from 2-6 pm, so you’ll definitely want to grab lots of fresh produce and goods from local farms while you’re there.  

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Elevated, True Farm to Table at Bailey’s Backyard in Ridgefield, CT: Restaurant Review

2 May
Some of the veggies that Forrest has pickled for sale

Some of the veggies that Forrest has pickled for sale

When we talked with Forrest Pasternack (former Executive Chef of Morello Bistro in Greenwich) a few weeks ago, we couldn’t help but get excited about what he and owner Sal Bagliavio had planned for the reopening of Bailey’s Backyard.  A farm-to-table restaurant that would live up to its name, built from the ground, the farm, and garden up.  A restaurant where the chef actually visits local farms and buys food from them.  A full and complete embrace of what farm to table means.  And, after visiting Bailey’s Backyard a few days before opening and being treated to a special preview menu, we know our excitement was well warranted.

The Menu

The menu is pretty easy to handle, fitting on just one (large) page.  In terms of what to order, it’s divided up into a few sections:  snacks, sides, greens, starts, mains, and desserts.  Of special note is that this is a great restaurant if you’re looking for fresh vegetarian options.  You can order whatever you’d like, or have a 3 course meal (starter, main, and dessert) for $27 ($39 with wine pairing) or a 4 course meal (greens, seafood starter, main, and dessert) for $38 ($50 with wine pairing).  In addition, you can even have the special Chef’s Tasting which is a seven course tasting menu for a very reasonable $65 or $95 with wine pairings.  No tasting menu will ever be exactly the same because it’s built daily based on what’s fresh and from the farms.

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Bailey’s Backyard Gets Farm-to-table Remake and Gains Chef Forrest Pasternack – Ridgefield, CT

22 Mar
Tarragon growing at Bailey Backyard's Own Garden

Tarragon growing at Bailey Backyard’s Own Garden (photo courtesy of Forrest Pasternack)

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Update:  Bailey’s Backyard is now open…read our review.

Elevating local ingredients.  That was the recurring theme to a recent talk we had with Forrest Pasternack, Executive Chef at Bailey’s Backyard in Ridgefield.  We talked about Forrest’s amazing cooking a few months ago when he was Executive Chef at Morello Bistro in Greenwich, but he’s moved onto greener pastures…literally.  He’s been working with Sal Bagliavio, owner of Bailey’s Backyard to not only refocus the menu, but also to rework the philosophy, the heart, the body, and the soul of the restaurant as it undergoes some major changes.  While the restaurant is closed right now for renovations, you can expect an opening around the middle of April.  Let’s look a bit closer into how Forrest plans to inspire diners, fully embrace the philosophy of farm-to-table, get the community involved, and spread the love of all things local across Connecticut.

Planting the Seeds:  A Fresh Start, a Local Approach

Forrest knows Ridgefield. He grew up there and for a long time he’s been looking to get involved in the local food scene of a community and elevate the ingredients found nearby. With great excitement he shared, “I want to offer a showcase for local ingredients.” And, yes, he’ll be doing that…and not in your typical way, either. He’ll literally be planting seeds with his sous chef in the restaurant’s garden courtesy of Veronica’s Garden, will help nurture the seedlings, will reap the veggies, then will feature them in the dishes. For everything else, the staff will gather the freshest veggies, herbs, meats, and supplies every week from local farms. Some of the farms they plan to visit are Veronica’s Garden of Ridgefield, The Hickories of Ridgefield, and Maple Bank Farm of Roxbury. As for meat, he’s going local too such as Greyledge Farm in Roxbury. Even the wine menu at Bailey’s Backyard will be almost entirely local, with lots of Long Island and Connecticut vineyards showing up like Lieb Cellars (we love the wine and the vineyard itself) of Mattituck, NY; Millbrook Winery in Millbrook, NY; and DiGrazia of Brookfield, CT.

Farm pics

The Greenhouse at Maple Bank Farm in Roxbury, CT (photo courtesy of Forrest Pasternack)

Watering the Seedlings: Nurturing the Restaurant, Nurturing the Community

Forrest told us that he wants to be a real driving force in the community in regards to food.  By keeping the menu at Bailey’s Backyard local, he’ll be helping to reach that goal.  In addition, he was sad to see that the farmers’ market in Ridgefield went away so he’s going to do whatever he can to try to bring one back.  But, it’s not just Forrest who is nurturing Bailey’s Backyard.  Chef Pasternack shared, “Sal, the owner, really understands food and he knows farms.  He knows local wineries.  And, whether people know it or not, he’s been a proponent of farm-to-table philosophy for a long time.”

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Morello Bistro: A Tour Through Chef Pasternack’s Tasty Tasting Menu – Greenwich, CT

16 Nov

Update:  Chef Forrest Pasternack has left Morello and is now Executive Chef at Bailey’s Backyard.  Taking his place is Executive Chef Kevin Garcia.

One of the great things about being OmNomCT is getting treated to special opportunities for blogger and press dinners. This one was especially tasty.  As we entered Morello Bistro (owned by MARC of London), we were taken aback at how beautiful this Greenwich spot was.  Stunningly beautiful, actually, with massive, tiled arches, and a dome ceiling.  Yes, a seriously amazing place.  Normally you’d think that a place with such natural beauty in the heart of Greenwich would cost you your organs, your arms, your legs, and a few extra appendages, but you’d be wrong.  The crew at Morello Bistro are really trying to keep things at affordable prices.  Brunch entrees range from $9-27, lunch from $13-26, and dinner from $18-38.

We were invited to this press dinner to celebrate not only four years in business, but also Chef Forrest Pasternack’s new gig as Executive Chef.  Now, this guy’s been around the proverbial block a few times.   Maybe that’s because he started young.  He worked at Kabuki, an Asian restaurant in Danbury that his adoptive parents owned.  Soon he found himself as kitchen manager and heading to the CIA (no, not to become a spy…Culinary Institute of America, duh) to fulfill his passion to cook.  Even while he was getting his degree, Chef Pasternack worked at Zoe Restaurant in Manhattan and The Town Crier in Pawling, NY.  From there, he found himself working at some killer spots:  Soho Grand Hotel in NY, Marcus Samuelson’s Aquavit, Mario Batali’s Esca, and David Chang’s oft-praised Momofuku.  In 2009 he took his skills to Greenwich, CT and became executive chef of Terra Restaurant.  Now…well, now Morello Bistro is lucky enough to have him.

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