Meet the Chef: Jesse Frederick of Butterfield Restaurant at Hasbrouck House
Next in our MEET THE CHEF SERIES we catch up with Jesse Frederick, Executive Chef of Butterfield at Hasbrouck House. One of our favorite upstate NY restaurants, Butterfield is loved by locals, social media influencers, and urban travelers alike, and has built a reputation for consistently delicious, locally sourced and beautifully plated dishes. Chef Frederick has lived and worked as a chef in the Hudson Valley for the majority of his career. A Hyde Park CIA graduate, Jesse’s culinary approach is not only influenced by the rich and abundant farms of the Hudson Valley but by his deep-seated connection to the area, his family, nature and the changing seasons.
INSIDE+OUT: Tell us about yourself: Where were you born and how did you wind up in the Hudson Valley?
JESSE FREDERICK: I was born in Poughkeepsie. I grew up in Wingdale, NY in a fourth-generation run restaurant, Guidetti’s.
Where did you get the inspiration to become a chef and what was your journey?
I was inspired by my family and my father, who was the Chef at Guidetti’s. I began working very young in all aspects of the restaurant. I decided early on in high school that I would attend school at the CIA. I interned at Olive’s in Boston under Todd English and worked after graduation for him for a few years before I headed to Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck. After that, I opened Cucina with Gianni Scappin. I left there and worked with Bread Alone for a few years managing the savory production and cafe menus. I got pulled back into the kitchen and took the helm of Beekman Arms in Rhinebeck, and after a short year there, I was appointed Executive Chef at Butterfield.
That’s an impressive journey. What do you think is the draw of Butterfield restaurant and what do you do to keep things fresh?
I constantly push myself to seek new ingredients, techniques or methods. The dish might be a huge success and everyone loves it; I will probably get tired of it after a few weeks and decide to change it. That’s what I think keeps things fresh.
Who or what inspires your menu and how often do you change it?
The seasons and weather are perhaps the largest factors that influence the menu. I find myself offering comfort or bistro-style foods on the coldest days, such as braised lamb shanks and steak au poivre. Hot summer evenings call for cold lobster salad and chilled sour cherry soup or a grilled ribeye with peaches and arugula. The menu changes weekly here at Butterfield; we keep a few staple items year-round but rotate out other items on a seasonal basis.
What’s one of the challenges of being a chef?
Cooking professionally on a daily basis for hundreds of people can become very monotonous and robotic. While there are products and techniques that you may favor over others, when it comes to food, people have very specific ideas of how they like their dishes prepared. Take eggs for example…perhaps the hardest yet simplest thing to cook, yet ten people will like their eggs prepared ten different ways. So eggs that one person may love may not be the way I prefer cooking or eating them. You have to remember that we’re here to please the guests. Food and aroma can be one the most transportive things.
The restaurant industry has seen much change and disruption with Covid. How are you adapting and is there a silver lining to be had here?
We have constantly been adapting to the changing situation for the past two years. It’s almost an animal instinct to adapt or become extinct. Outdoor dining in zero-degree weather has become a necessity. Shorter menus, allow executing a constant quality with staffing shortages, due to covid protocols and other variables. I don’t think there is a silver lining to this. The restaurant industry has gotten hit very hard. Places that were once institutions have closed. While large corporations are growing and being more profitable. Small places have gotten killed by third-party delivery services and people want things immediately and without effort. The small guys that have made it will be successful. But, it will be a few years before things will get back to any type of new normal (if there ever is one).
How do you inspire your staff and what is your company culture?
I run a pretty loose kitchen, I expect the staff (as small as it is) to come to work and perform for one common goal. I think I inspire staff through a “lead by example” role with constant focus and attention.
What do you love most about living + working in the Hudson Valley?
I’ve spent most of my entire life in the Hudson Valley, so it’s hard to judge otherwise. We get the freshest produce and livestock. We have the space to grow herb gardens and forage–all literally in our backyard.
What local businesses do you rely on to be successful?
We really rely on all the surrounding businesses to be successful. This continued collaboration between businesses has created a ‘destination’ for tourism, for both out-of-town guests, ‘staycationers’ and longtime local residents. The more options and variety we have to offer, the more attractive we all are. We need everyone to put the best foot forward. I really see this area becoming the next Napa Valley of the East Coast, (if it’s not already).
What is your favorite thing to eat/cook when you’re home alone or with your family?
Any dish that we used to serve at Guidetti’s. Linguine with clam sauce, clam casino, veal parmesan, antipasti salad, tomato braised calamari; all bring me back to my childhood and comfort.
Could you share a recipe for our readers?
Sure, Bucatini Carbonara. For pure comfort food, it doesn’t get any better than this! Top these thick bucatini noodles with a flurry of pecorino, cracked black pepper and a whole raw egg yolk for a dramatic and silky sauce! The richer the better!
Tell us something about yourself people might be surprised to learn?
I’m 10% Korean and Japanese.
Name three things you always have in your fridge.
White Claws, pickles and hot dogs.
What was the best dish or meal you’ve ever had and who made it?
Lunch at the twelfth best restaurant in the world, a two Michelin Star restaurant called Steirereck in Vienna, Austria.
BUTTERFIELD AT HASBROUCK HOUSE
Executive Chef Jesse Frederick
3805 Main Street Stone Ridge, NY
Reservations > 845-687-0887
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Read all of Inside+Out’s MEET THE CHEF SERIES
Chef Jesse Frederick | Butterfield Restaurant at Hasbrouck House | Stone Ridge NY
Chef Corwin Kave | Deer Mountain Inn | Tannerville NY
Chef Isaias Lira | Lis Bar | Kingston NY
Chef Alex Napolitano | Prospect at Scribners | Hunter NY
Chef Clare Hussain | Runa | New Paltz NY