After splitting responsibilities with Chef Jamie, Tommy is now is taking over the CCRK kitchen and leading the preparation of 1100 meals every week. Here are some things you should know about him!
He got his start working at Tom’s Luncheonette, his father’s establishment in New York City. After moving to Spencertown, Carlucci headed kitchens at the now closed fine dining establishment, Quintessence, in Albany, Chatham’s Blue Plate, Hawthorne Valley and most recently the Chatham Food Coop. His catering business, Carlucci Catering, did events for such diverse organizations as Art Omi, the Columbia Land Conservancy and the Spencertown Fire Department.
Carlucci came to cooking during what he calls his “Kerouac years.” He was on the road for several years, “running towards something, not away” he says, and realized that cooking allowed him to work anywhere. Despite his years of experience in the kitchen, Carlucci says: “No one can call me a chef. I am a cook”
“My goal at CCRK is to do restaurant quality meals, “he says. “I try to rotate meals so each week recipients receive a different dish than the week before. I also try to get feedback. For instance, the Hudson Youth Center gets eighty meals on Monday but we never send fish!”
He is also reviving his catering business, now called Thomas Carlucci Catering, but intending to restrict it to small events. “I have one job now,” he says,” I grew up in a Bronx neighborhood of Italians and Jews where everyone would want to feed me. Food was love and that’s how I feel about this job.”
Chef Jamie Parry prepared his last meals for the Columbia County Recovery Kitchen on Wednesday, December 14. “I worked seven days a week for almost three years, so I just need to rest.” “But I’m leaving the kitchen in capable hands with Tommy,” said Parry, referring to Tommy Carlucci. “I’ll be guest chef now and then to help him out.”
After pandemic shutdowns closed Hudson restaurants, Jamie, the chef at Swoon Kitchenbar, began cooking for the Salvation Army with fellow chef John Carr of Le Perche.
“We were only making 70 meals a day at the Salvation Army,” he said. For two chefs that wasn’t exactly practical. He knew that they could do more and through mutual friends, Carol Clark and Pam Kline, founders of CCRK found them and asked if they were interested in creating a kitchen, he said. They were.
Since then, the CCRK has delivered over 70,000 nutritious and delicious meals to residents of Columbia County, where 11.5% of families and individuals are food insecure. Is it different cooking for those in need rather than restaurant customers? “It’s more like family meal,” said Parry, referring to the meal prepared by the chef and eaten by the kitchen and service staff before a restaurant opens.
“CCRK receives produce and protein donations from farms all across the area and that brings me back to the roots of why I cook,” said Parry, referring to the amazing ingredients he uses to make the almost 1100 weekly meals produced with love in the kitchen of the Christ Church Episcopal of Hudson. “I try to make very simple, well-seasoned and good food,” Parry says about the meals he and his dedicated team of volunteer kitchen workers produce.
Parry threw praise to other organizations in Columbia Country who fight food insecurity as well. “I know that JJ and company over at the West Taghkanic Diner put out meals on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Little Deb’s Oasis has a little refrigerator out front and even Christ Church has a very small free open food pantry.”
“I just want to thank everyone at Christ Church Episcopal, all the volunteers and all the farmers and distributors. I have worked with some of the volunteers since day one and they make this possible. I mean, I just came in and did what I know how to do.”
Today is Recovery Kitchen’s second birthday! Thanks to your incredible support over the past two years, Recovery Kitchen thoughtfully prepared and delivered 66,000+ meals to vulnerable neighbors. Donate now to help alleviate hunger at http://bit.ly/CCRKBirthday2
Even with our efforts, more than 6,000 individuals including children and seniors fight daily against hunger and malnutrition in our area.
Food insecurity has detrimental health effects especially on senior populations, such as an increased likeliness to experience depression, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and asthma. Recovery Kitchen’s drivers deliver home-cooked nutritious meals to the doorsteps of seniors, as well as other families and individuals in need.
Recovery Kitchen is honoring two years of growth, exciting developments, and delicious food, all of which we couldn’t have done without your support! Since its inception, Recovery Kitchen has delivered 70,000+ nutritious and delicious meals to our community. Thank you for making this impactful work possible!
As we turn the next chapter in our books, we want to celebrate major accomplishments for our organization and community. Recovery Kitchen welcomed a second chef to its team, Chef Tommy Carlucci.
Through a vast increase in farm donations, local produce and proteins have never been more present in Recovery Kitchen meals. Hudson Valley Fisheries donate fresh steelhead trout, and local beef, pork, chicken, eggs and greens from farms like Wally Farms and Grow in Harmony Recovery Garden continue to be featured in many of our meals.
Just a few other milestones included…
Increased deliveries from 4 to 5 days per week
Officially receiving 501-c3 status
Added two new board members, Stephanie Sussman and John Brigham
Completed robust survey of all recipients to gather participant data
Invited referrals from neighbors and self-referrals
In honor of incredible growth in just one year, Recovery Kitchen is celebrating our birthday during the month of April with delectable treats from the area’s finest bakeries. Keep your eyes peeled for the announcement!
This Valentine’s Day, Columbia County Recovery Kitchen wants to give gratitude to our supporters like you who make it possible to continue feeding hungry families. Thank you.
Giving the gift of food is a caring, loving, and thoughtful act of generosity. Food is love, comfort, and warmth. Sharing food is at the heart of our mission at Recovery Kitchen. Will you help spread the love byproviding one meal for an entire family each month? At just $25 a month, your small gift provides one family of four with a meal like Soft Polenta with Tomatoes and Sausage for a family without food right now.
In becoming a monthly sponsor, your recurring gift means reliable funding for long-term meal services. You can help spread a little love and comfort to a family in need. Click here to begin monthly donations!
Columbia County Recovery Kitchen hosted an old-fashioned backyard barbecue on Saturday, August 14, to thank its more than 90 dedicated volunteers who work to help vulnerable neighbors with food insecurity. Recovery Kitchen volunteers are drivers, schedulers, distribution staff, cooks, kitchen staff, and advisors working in the areas of fundraising, communication, grant writing and data collection. The event was held at the home of Carole Clark, Recovery Kitchen founder and long-time Hudson restaurateur.
“After 17 months of phone calls, text messages and Zoom meetings, our Recovery Kitchen organizers and volunteers finally were able to meet in person,” said Ms. Clark, continuing, “We had to delay this long-awaited, in-person gathering due to COVID restrictions.”
Recovery Kitchen’s large number of volunteers have diverse backgrounds. Many have moved to the Hudson Valley from either coast, with careers spanning a wide range of industries including fashion, finance, food and cookbook writing, law, publishing, newspaper reporting and nonprofit management. The artworld is represented among the volunteers too, from art dealers and artists to those from the music and entertainment industry.
The celebratory barbeque menu included grilled vegetables, burgers and hot dogs, potato salad, panzanella salad, watermelon feta salad and grilled peaches, all prepared by Recovery Kitchen Chef Jamie Parry. David Drake, a Recovery Kitchen volunteer, created festive beverages. Musical entertainment was provided by Rachel Weisman on vocals, accompanied by Jody Rael on guitar.
Recovery Kitchen, a local 501c3 public charity, opened its doors in April 2020. With the help of a fiscal sponsor and a church kitchen, two creative restaurant chefs, Jamie Parry (SWOON Kitchenbar) and John Carr (Le Perche) and their colleagues, they created 200 meals each week. By late summer, they were cooking and delivering 900 meals each week throughout the county. County social services and schools helped to identify people in need. Recovery Kitchen thrives due to the generosity and spirit of the community, including local farmers who donate freshly harvested vegetables and fruit, meat and cheese.
In thanking the volunteers, Ms. Clark recounted the organization’s origin story. “Initially planning the mechanics of Recovery Kitchen, I thought that finding people to cook and deliver the meals would be the biggest challenge. To our surprised delight, the response was overwhelming,” she said. “We are a truly dedicated and caring community, eager to work together to provide nutritious and delicious meals to Columbia County residents struggling with food insecurity. Since April 2020, we have delivered more than 50,000 meals. Recovery Kitchen is only possible because of all of you.”
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer for Recovery Kitchen can sign up here.
On Saturday, July 10th, Recovery Kitchen hosted a garden party fundraiser, Planting Seeds to End Hunger, to support its work fighting food insecurity with nutrition security. More than 80 guests enjoyed a sunny afternoon in a Spencertown garden to celebrate community efforts to help Columbia County residents in need.
The afternoon opened with longtime Hudson restaurateur and Recovery Kitchen founder, Carole Clark, explaining her inspiration for preparing and delivering healthy meals to hungry, vulnerable people in the county — children, the elderly on their own, the unemployed, and working people who can’t make ends meet. “I realized what the impact of the pandemic would be on people in Hudson and Columbia County, and could only think about those who would be hit the hardest, people who were food insecure in the best of times.”
Recovery Kitchen, a local 501c3 public charity, opened its doors in April 2020. With the help of a fiscal sponsor and a church kitchen, two creative restaurant chefs, Jamie Parry (SWOON Kitchenbar) and John Carr (Le Perche) and their colleagues, they created 200 meals each week and by late summer were delivering 950 meals each week. County social services and schools helped to identify people in need. Recovery Kitchen thrives due to the generosity and spirit of the community. A team of more than 100 volunteers cook and clean, coordinate between the meal producers and drivers, and drive all over the county to deliver meals in 26 towns.
Recovery Kitchen is supported by local farmers who donate freshly harvested vegetables and fruit, meat and cheese. In addition, a food recovery program, called Long Table Harvest, helps to close the food loop through sustainable farm surplus redistribution. One of the local farmers, Harold Hilton, owner of Earth Tapestry Farm and Grow in Harmony Community Garden, discussed his farm’s approach to giving back to the community and his use of regenerative agriculture techniques to improve sustainability.
“Much of our time and effort goes to creating and nurturing the soil. We ensure it is healthy and full of nutrients to support plants and their interdependent microbiotic communities,” said Mr. Hilton, continuing, “Our Grow In Harmony Community Garden, assisted by the most amazing volunteers from our community, has provided thousands of pounds of produce for the past 1.5 years and the primary recipient is the Recovery Kitchen.”
Despite the economy showing signs of bouncing back and local businesses reopening, the need for Recovery Kitchen’s services is continuing. The team continues to work with the county to identify people who would benefit from Recovery Kitchen’s services and has expanded the program to take referrals from community members as well as self-referrals. The organization’s goal is to increase the number of meal recipients and the number of meals served to some recipients. The Recovery Kitchen team also plans to develop ways to educate the community about the importance of diet and nutrition to prevent and treat some chronic diseases.
In addition to selling tickets for the event, a silent auction offered baskets of goods donated by local farmers and food purveyors. The 17 donors (in alphabetical order) were: Bimi’s, Churchtown Dairy, Copake Farmers Market, Germantown Laundromat, Golden Harvest, Hearty Roots, Hudson Winery, Lawlor’s Package Store, Melinda Wax Designs, Olde Hudson, Otto’s Market, Random Harvest, Sadhana Yoga, Talbott and Arding, Tierra Farm, Verdigris, and Yandik’s Farm.
“From the very beginning, it was and is the outpouring of support from the community, that enables us to provide delicious, nutrient-rich meals to people who were food and nutrition insecure before Covid and who will continue to be after Covid,” said Ms. Clark. “We are grateful for the generosity of our donors and are ever thankful for our amazing army of dedicated volunteers who all support our ability to continue serving those in need in our community.”
Anyone interested in supporting Recovery Kitchen can do so here.
At Recovery Kitchen, we rely on the generosity of volunteers to help feed hungry neighbors throughout Columbia County (NY). Each profile is a “thank you” to these special people.
“Giving away food is as righteous as it gets,” says Chatham resident Tom Ehrich, volunteer driver for the Recovery Kitchen. Seen here having some fun with fellow volunteer Karen Rosland, Tom delivers healthy meals twice each week to help feed hungry neighbors in Hudson.
Please help Recovery Kitchen continue to provide food to local families in need. If you’d like to join Tom and Karen, sign up to volunteer.
We are so grateful that the Hudson Rotary Club donated 500 face masks and a $200 check to the Recovery Kitchen. The Hudson Rotary Club sponsors an Interact Club for students between the ages of 12-18. The Interact Club members work together on local service projects in the community to help others and “better our world.”
The Hudson Rotary Club supports these students by helping to develop their leadership skills and to teach students about the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.” Recovery Kitchen Co-organizer and Director, Pam Kline, is pictured here receiving the donated masks and check from the Rotary Interact Youth Group high school students.
If you’d like to make a donation to help us continue serving those in need in our community, you can do so here: