Holiday gifts: Rob Handel

chef Rob Handel

Gifts and giving are on most everyone's mind this month. So we're asking people to share some thoughts on presents, past and present, charities, and wishes for the next year.

Next up: Rob Handel has been cooking since his grandmother first set him to cracking eggs and peeling potatoes in her resort kitchen as a child. Since then he has broadened his culinary horizons through research and travel, as well as periods of formal study in biology, chemistry, and culinary arts.

Rob is currently the executive chef at The Bees Knees Café at Heather Ridge Farm, where he creates both classic dishes and unique preparations pairing the meat and poultry raised on the farm with local produce, cheeses, dairy, and foraged goods. When not in the kitchen, Rob can be found in the woods foraging mushrooms and wild foods, or tending to his own small home farm.

What gifts would you like to get this year?
I like to use Christmas as an opportunity to catch up on all the great cookbooks that have come out during the year. This year I'm looking forward to getting Hank Shaw's Buck, Buck, Moose, Vivian Howard's Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South, and Lior Lev Sercaz's The Spice Companion: A Guide to the World of Spices.

What gifts would you like to give this year?
I usually give a lot of homemade gifts. I spend much of the summer up until all hours of the morning canning, fermenting, and dehydrating, and that allows me to give homemade jams, cocktail cherries, pickles, and foraged mushroom soup mixes to friends and family.

Another favorite gift that I like to give is Heather Ridge Farm "Patent" Root Beer Syrup. It's a root beer concentrate that I designed that's based on a 19th century recipe and utilizes fifteen different roots, barks, herbs, and spices.

What charity would you like to support?
My charity of choice is the NY Capital Region chapter of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network). They're a great organization that advocates and provides programming for gay, lesbian, transgendered, and queer students throughout eight counties in the Capital District.

What is your most memorable gift?
My most memorable gift was receiving my father's set of Foxfire books. The Foxfire collection was a series of books written by high school students in rural Georgia during the seventies. The students interviewed and photographed people in the Appalachians who were still living traditional rural lives, and wrote about it in the books.

Part storytelling and part instructional, these books got me out into the woods foraging for wild spring greens, making lye from wood ash to turn into soap, and generally inspired me to pursue many of the self reliance interests that I treasure today.

What is your wish for the New Year?
My wish for the New Year is that people get sick of the words "curated," "taste maker," and "creative" as a noun.
____

Compiled by Deanna Fox.

More holiday gifts 2016
+ Jamel Mosely
+ Nicki Brown
+ Paul Curran
+ Kim Neaton
+ Jeff Smith
+ Aray M. Till
+ Jeff Krenn
+ Jennifer Maher

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.

Search

Recently on All Over Albany

Bobby Brown + Bell Biv Devoe at The Palace

Bobby Brown and Bell Biv Devoe are co-headlining a show at The Palace November 2. Tickets went on sale today (September 25) -- they're $39.50... (more)

Dave Matthews Band at TU Center

The Dave Matthews Band is set to play a show at the Times Union Center December 5. Tickets go on sale to the general public... (more)

Morning Blend

Drinking water A state Comptroller's office review of the state Department of Health oversight of public water systems concludes that DOH has not always taken... (more)

Today's moment of autumn

Who doesn't enjoy some mums in September?... (more)

The Albany Book Festival is this coming weekend and it also includes a big list of local authors

A reminder that the first Albany Book Festival is this Saturday, September 29 on UAlbany's uptown campus. The lineup is absolutely stacked with prominent authors,... (more)

Recent Comments

Saturday afternoon walks through Washington Park on the way to the Lionhart pub, to get in those last few enjoyable warmish weather days on the patio while enjoying a seasonal pint of craft brew....yum...

Troy Letter

...has 1 comment, most recently from Danielle Sanzone

Drawing: Oktoberfest Block Party VIP tickets

...has 37 comments, most recently from Jim

Morning Blend for Sep 24

...has 1 comment, most recently from ace

Mapping out the future for an alternative transportation network in the Capital District

...has 3 comments, most recently from ivan vamos

Stuff to do this weekend

...has 3 comments, most recently from Rich