Amenia, New York is a quiet town of about 4,000 residents located less than 2 hours drive north of NYC. It might as well be a world away. For city dwellers looking for an ideal urban retreat, this Hudson Valley hideaway ticket in the form of Troutbeck. The stone-clad luxury hotel that was once a private estate is a true fortress of solitude that anchors a 250-acre property and preserves it.
Getting into the lobby makes it clear that this is much more than your typical rural inn. Throughout its 200-year history, this farm has hosted legendary artists including Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and naturalist John Burroughs. Today, the same walls create strength from the creative past, celebrate local artists and serve as an ongoing gallery for their work.
But creativity does not stop with the visual offerings. Troutbeck is a resort dedicated to the artistry of all the senses. Case in point: the kitchen and the bar, managed by the head chef Gabe McMackin. The property picked the valued talent out of Manhattan and he settled into his new home with great joy. The tasting menus lean heavily on local ingredients from the bounty on farms that disperse the surrounding area.
Still, that kind of attention is expected from pretty much any high end eatery these days. A meal from McMackin makes it clear that something far more personal is at play … An artistic expression of the chef, himself. For a better sense of how he brings his vision to life, Forbes sat down with McMackin in a little Q + A. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
Describe the concept behind your menu at Troutbeck.
The most direct way to say it is that we make seasonal American food. It’s a little fine dining, it’s a little casual, it’s rooted in American traditions, but we’re also very aware of global traditions and techniques. We think that what is in season, the fresh and bright – and ideally raised near our friends – is the most exciting thing to put on a plate.
Where do you get inspiration for the topics?
Troutbeck’s history is infinitely inspiring, but our goal with the menu is to root out eateries exactly at the moment. So much of what we do starts with what we can get – what do the farmers we work with have that they are excited about?