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Sponsored by The Foundation of the Wilf Campus


The Berkshires Farm Table Cookbook

Tuesday, April 20, 6:00 PM

ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Elisa Spungen Bildner is a former lawyer, journalist, and CEO of a perishable food manufacturing company, and is a professionally trained chef. Robert Bildner is a former lawyer who grew up in a food family and went on to found several companies that helped local farmers bring products to market. He photographed the farms and restaurants in this book. Elisa and Rob have lived in the Berkshires for 35 years. Chef Brian Alberg is the former executive chef of the The Red Lion Inn, owned by Main Street Hospitality Group, where he is vice-president of culinary development.


The Berkshires Farm Table Cookbook [Countryman Press; May 19, 2020] captures the fresh, flavorful recipes of a truly bucolic region of the United States. And thanks to authors Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, and their collaborator, Chef Brian Alberg, who created most of the recipes, you can now experience a taste of this magical region for yourself, no matter where you live. The rolling hills and treetop mountains of the Berkshire region have long been known as a cultural mecca, but foodies around the world are becoming increasingly interested in its cuisine. And who can blame them when you hear about mouth watering dishes like Roasted Zucchini and Cherry Tomato Pizza, Vegetable Ratatouille with Basil Gremolata, and Glazed Blueberry Lemon Bread?

Delivering the delicious flavors of Western Massachusetts and its adjacent areas right into the comfort of your home, Elisa and Robert are here to tell the story of family-run agriculture through the language of food, presenting an irresistible culinary portrait of this scenic paradise. Featuring 125 handpicked recipes, this cookbook transforms universally loved, readily available ingredients—including shiitake mushrooms, zucchini, sugar snap peas, garlic, chicken, pork and many more—into delectable specialties, created or inspired by the Berkshire’s very best farmers, chefs, and restaurant-owners. Both classics like hearty Chicken Pot Pie and exciting innovations like Roasted Asparagus and Lemon Ricotta Tartines will send you racing to your local farmers’ market, eager to revitalize your home cooking with fresh and flavorful Berkshire farm table suppers.

From soups to savory pies, pasta to poultry, this easy-to-use cookbook has every aspect of Berkshire cooking plentifully covered, from breakfast through dinner and dessert. Start the day right with Morning Glory Muffins or Farm Hash with Poached Eggs; tuck yourself up in bed with a Velvety Zucchini Soup; whip yourself up a quick but refreshing lunch with a Feta and Roasted Beet Salad; host a delicious dinner party with Braised Beef Shanks with Eggplant and Scarlet Runner Beans or Confetti Vegetable and Goat Cheese Lasagna. Not to mention, kids will be begging for a second portion of Warm Cranberry Cobbler or Kabocha Squash Cake with Maple Butter Drizzle!

What makes this cookbook truly special is its celebration of the farmers, cheesemakers, chefs, and restaurant-owners behind the recipes, as much as the food itself. Although the variety of their produce varies greatly, the farmers themselves have one thing in common: passion for the land they live on, and for the food they grow. Meet the faces behind Berkshire singular cuisine: a 70-year old cheesemaker, who claims she’ll “keep working until I can’t stand up,” shows you how to make delicious Leek Tarts with Chèvre, whilst the Berkshires’ infamous  ‘Melon Whisperer,’ Dave Leavitt, inspires the recipe for the cool and refreshing Chilled Melon and Mint Soup.

With so many delicious recipes to choose from, this celebration of the region’s healthy, sustainable food scene and farming community is a collection to savor. Try bringing a little Berkshire culinary magic to your kitchen, then find yourself returning to it again and again.

The Alexander Joseph Kaufman Author Series is dedicated by Sherryl and Michael Kaufman in memory of Michael’s younger brother, Alexander. Click here to learn more.

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