NEW MILFORD, Conn. — “If there’s anyone who isn’t doing anything, these tomatoes need dicing!” called chef Bill Cosgrove to the dozen or so students gathered in the cavernous kitchen at The Silo Cooking School. Most were busily grating cheese, reducing balsamic vinegar, or coaxing a béchamel into thickening as they prepared an assortment of Italian appetizers. But one volunteered, and Cosgrove, of the Upper Crust Cucina Italiana just down the street, showed her just how to chop the fresh tomatoes for a Caprese salad garnish.
One of the first cooking schools in New England, The Silo is celebrating its 40th anniversary. The late NBC music director Skitch Henderson and his wife, Ruth, established the school and attached kitchen store on their western Connecticut estate in 1972 because they missed the kitchen tools and gourmet foods they could find easily in New York. Over the course of three hours on a September Sunday at the historic Hunt Hill Farm Trust property, we prepared — and consumed — roasted eggplant caponata on garlic bruschetta, grilled shrimp on corn sformata, rosemary grilled lamb chops, and roasted corn polenta with mushrooms, fontina, and amontillado cream.