Meet The Chef: Jamie Parry of Swoon Kitchenbar
Next up in our ongoing Meet the Chef Series, we catch up with Chef de Cuisine at Swoon Kitchenbar in Hudson, New York – Jamie Parry. For nearly twenty years, Swoon Kitchenbar has been a local favorite and a hot spot for urban travelers–best known for serving beautifully plated, consistently good food made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Parry honed his skills while cooking for NYC’s hottest restaurants, like Montrachet and Tribecca Grill. Now a Hudson Valley resident, let’s learn more about Jamie Parry and his journey.
Inside+Out Upstate NY: Tell us about yourself: Where were you born and how did you wind up in the Hudson Valley?
Chef Jamie Parry: I was raised on the upper west of Manhattan. I moved up to Hudson Valley in 2001 after meeting my future wife.
Where did you get the inspiration to become a chef and what was your journey?
I always loved cooking for friends and started working in kitchens in my twenties. I never thought I would be a chef. I just kept showing up- I still do.
What do you think is the draw of your restaurant and what do you do to keep things fresh?
Swoon is going on twenty years and we have grown as the city of Hudson has grown. My cooks and I are constantly looking for the freshest ingredients available.
Who or what inspires your menu and how often do you change it?
We have a few standards that have always been on the menu, like our Skirt Steak. We change the menu as needed or as the availability of ingredients changes.
What is one question you’re constantly asked or what’s the biggest misconception about your business?
The question always asked is, “What is your favorite thing to cook?” My answer is, “The vegetables of the Hudson Valley.” Our meatless Monday dinners are a wonderful lab for new dishes.
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?
Covid has been an incredibly challenging time, the restaurant industry has changed forever. The silver lining is I helped Columbia County Recovery Kitchen which provides meals for food-insecure individuals throughout Columbia County. The program provides 900 meals every week.
That is the one thing we love most about being Upstate NY– how the community really comes together during challenging times. How do you inspire your staff and what is your company culture?
I love food, I love restaurants, it bleeds into everything I do. In the kitchen we try to work collaboratively; meaning the menu isn’t dictated, every cook has a voice in the kitchen. I shake everyone’s hand at the end of the night.
What do you love most about living + working in the Hudson Valley?
The Hudson Valley has become home even though I am a city boy.
What impact does your business have on your community?
Columbia County Recovery Kitchen has had a huge impact on our community. We have provided over 100,000 meals as of this moment.
That’s pretty great. What local businesses do you rely on to be successful?
What is missing in Hudson NY that you wish we had?
A good bagel shop on Warren Street.
What is your favorite thing to eat or cook when you’re home alone or with your family?
An anchovy pizza, if I’m alone. Last night was Burrito night with the family.
Valentine’s Day is around the corner – can you share a Swoon-Worthy recipe (pun intended)?
Duck Confit with Seared Endive, Shiitake Mushrooms and Pickled Figs. Here is the Recipe
That looks amazing, thank you for sharing.
Tell us something about yourself people might be surprised to learn?
I love canned pineapple.
Name three things you always have in your fridge.
Mango pickle, Kallie smoked cod roe paste and Parmesan cheese.
What would be your dream Hudson Valley Staycation?
My dream staycation would be to hit all the great Asian restaurants in the Capital District with my daughter Sally.
What was the best dish or meal you’ve ever had and who made it?
The tasting menu at Cadence in Philadelphia was the most inspiring meal I’ve had in a great long while.
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Read all of Inside+Out’s MEET THE CHEF SERIES
Chef Alex Napolitano | Prospect at Scribners | Hunter NY
Chef Corwin Kave | Deer Mountain Inn | Tannerville NY
Chef Clare Hussain| Runa | New Paltz NY
Chef Jesse Frederick | Butterfield Restaurant at Hasbrouck House| Stone Ridge NY
Chef Christoper Weathered | Mill & Main | Kerhonkson NY
Chef Elizabeth Steckel and Dirk Schalle | The Gunk Haus | Highland NY
Chef Wyatt Jaster | The Pines | Mount Tremper NY
Chef Richard Erickson | Blue Mountain Bistro & Bistro To Go | Kingston NY
Chef Cheryl Paff and Chef Juan Tzitzimititila | Black-Eyed Suzie’s | Kingston NY
Chef Francesco Buitoni | GioBatta Alimentari | Tivoli NY
Chef Tony Moustakes | City Winery Hudson Valley | Montgomery NY
Chef Doris Choi | Silvia | Woodstock NY
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