For Best Chefs America
The Tuthill House, where Jeremy Berlin works as the executive chef and general manager, resides on a 36 acre piece of land in the Hudson Valley. The scenery surrounding the restaurant is pristine. Now, it’s Berlin’s job to transform The Tuthill House’s menu so that the food coming out of the kitchen is as beautiful as the location.
The restaurant operates out of a historic building, over 200 years old, that formerly housed a gristmill. Berlin’s been at The Tuthill House helm for four months now, cooking colorful, seasonal produce grown in the Hudson Valley with the fine dining techniques he's learned working for top chefs across the country.
ahi tuna tartare with basil aioli, radish, sesame, croutons, fennel, and spring blossoms
The outside of The Tuthill House overlooks fields of flowers and a stream so close you can hear the water rolling over the stones. It’s so vibrant and tranquil here that Berlin visits the property on his days off.
The inside of the Tuthill House is decorated with mill relics, dark wood beams, and crystal chandeliers. The decor resembles an antique showroom updated with modern craftsmanship and slick woodwork.
Berlin worked at a lot of larger restaurants before moving to upstate New York, places like Gordon Ramsay’s The London (in both New York and West Hollywood). He worked at Le Bernardin as a poissonnier under Eric Ripert and as a sous chef at Payard Patisserie and Bistro under Philippe Bertineau. He says he moved around to work with the right chefs, not to chase titles. Now he’s chosen to work in an environment completely different than a big city.
He's now in the countryside, though The Tuthill House is a just short ride into New York City. Berlin wants The Tuthill House to reflect the same standards culinary artists are held to in Manhattan. People from New York City often travel to Gardiner for weekend getaways. Berlin knows they need to enjoy their food as much as they do in a place where the competition is far more intense.
The Tuthill House isn’t the only place to visit on the land. Next door, Tuthilltown Spirits distills an array of whiskeys, gin, vodka, cacao liqueur, cassis liqueur, and bitters that The Tuthill House uses in its specialty cocktails. Guests sit around the island bar in the center of the dining room and sip on cocktails like As You Wish (made with strawberry infused Halfmoon Gin, lime, lavender, balsalmic, and egg white foam) and Jazz Manhattans (made with Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey, Carpino Antica Vermouth, Dolin Blanc Basement Bitters, and demerara sugar).
Berlin’s summer menu recently launched. Items include: Hudson Valley summer crudité, citrus quinoa salad with fresh shaved easter egg radish and mache, artichoke and fennel barigoule with confit garlic and preserved lemon, pan roasted diver scallops with king trumpet mushrooms and saffron veloute. The menu is vegetable heavy. Some entrées have no starch.
heirloom tomato salad with pickled pearl onions, tomato vinaigrette, ashed goat cheese
“I could do crazy molecular gastronomy here, but that’s not what people are looking for,” Berlin says. “It wouldn’t work in this environment.”
Now the food at Tuthill House resembles the style of cuisine he cooked working under Ripert and Bertineau. Berlin says Bertineau has been the most influential role model and mentor in his career.
“He never yelled,” says Berlin about the French chef behind Benoit Bistro. “But if you overcooked the carrots, you hurt his soul.”
a seasonal tartine, available at Brunch at Tuthill House
Berlin leads his staff by using his own discipline and attitude as an example that trickles down into the performance of his cooks. If he starts to let details slide, his cooks will start to cut corners.
“You can’t send out anything subpar in this industry,” he says.
Because if a customer has a positive experience they’ll tell three people. If they have a bad experience, they’ll tell ten.
Berlin has a unique opportunity to exercise complete creative freedom over what happens in the front of the house and the back of the house of The Tuthill House. He says he wants Michelin star quality food to be coming out of his kitchen (though he doesn’t know if inspectors will come out to Gardiner). He's next to one of the greatest food cities in the entire world, in a prime location with amazing produce. All of these are factors that inspired his move.
"I'm getting top quality tomatoes and corn from literally right down the road," Berlin says. "You can't beat that."