Food in the Hudson Valley has come a long way. We have traded in our cold subs for quinoa concoctions. With rising consumer awareness, we have begun to ask our waiters, “are these greens locally-sourced?”
Perhaps the best testament to the Hudson Valley’s revolutionized food industry is New Paltz’s Main Course Catering and Marketplace.
Opened in 1990 by SUNY New Paltz and Culinary Institute alum Bruce Kazan, this year marks Main Course Catering and Marketplace’s 30th year in business.
Time and time again, Main Course has received glowing compliments from its patrons.
“The menu and food is outstanding, the place is top shelf quality, top shelf service and the price is very reasonable!” raved resident of Walden, Joe Burke, on Main Course’s Facebook page.
Prior to moving back to New Paltz from Manhattan, Kazan started advertising catering services in local newspapers. He immediately received an influx of interested consumers.
“The more I was booked, the more people were intrigued about us. It was an interesting strategy that we weren’t sure was going to work, but it created a buzz about us,” Kazan said. “Because I am a Culinary Institute graduate, I knew the labor force that was up here that I could tap into.”
Main Course Catering and Marketplace has been voted “Best Caterer” in Hudson Valley Magazine since 1994.
While Main Course initially leaned more towards catering — a 70:30 ratio at first, according to the New Paltz Times — their focus is now more balanced between the catering business and market business.
Main Course’s philosophy is rooted in the BATH concept — better alternative to home — meaning they offer the same quality of food made at home but with more diversity and accessibility.
“I’m not compromising the integrity of the food for the convenience factor,” Kazan said. “We are becoming more aware of how consumers are viewing food and we are rising to that level of awareness to help meet their needs.”
The ingredients used are sourced locally from more than a dozen farms in the area, including Russell Farms in Rhinebeck, Jenkins-Lueken Orchard in New Paltz and Sorbello Farms in Highland, some of which collaborate with Kazan each spring to grow specific produce for him.
Over the course of his life — both as a consumer and a chef — Kazan has witnessed firsthand the transformation the food industry has undergone. Kazan attributes the revolution within the food industry and the rise in farm-to-table restaurants to heightened consumer awareness and conscientiousness.
“There has been truly an evolution in peoples’ thinking about food and what it means to them,” Kazan testified. “When I was growing up back in the ‘60s, chicken parmigiana was a fancy meal out. Now, we are exposed to every region in Italy, what different foods each region has to offer and the wines that pair with it.”
According to Kazan, the last 30 years have been the best time to be in the food business in the Hudson Valley.
“We always wanted the Hudson Valley to be the Napa Valley of the East Coast,” Kazan reflected. “Now, we are in the forefront of agrotourism. People come traveling all the way to the Hudson Valley just for that aspect.”
To celebrate Main Course’s 30th year, join Kazan in the “2020 Winter Dining Series.” Each dining experience includes a four course dinner with wine pairings. The next event, “Exploring Latin America,” takes place tomorrow, Feb. 6 at 6:30 p.m.
Don’t miss out on these tasty opportunities, make a reservation at https://www.maincoursecatering.com/winterdiningseries.html.