Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Farm to 49th Street

Local tomatoes make their debut at the Four Seasons



Julian Niccolini handpicks heirloom tomatoes at Rochambeau Farm hours before he carves them tableside at his Four Seasons in NYC.

Photos by Rana faure

On a hot Sunday morning in September, Julian Niccolini is in his element. He is not presiding at the fabled Four Seasons restaurant, in Midtown Manhattan, in one of his tailored Thom Browne suits. He is instead skipping among rows of cucumbers and radishes at Rochambeau Farm, in Mt. Kisco, wearing jeans, a T-shirt and cowboy boots. Disappearing into a jungle of eight-foot-high tomato vines, he pops out again, cradling two giant Black Beauties. “Look! Look! Look at this!,” he shouts. “How beautiful they are!”

In a local twist on farm-to-table, Rochambeau Farm is supplying bespoke produce to the estimable Four Seasons, which reopened in late August, after a two-year hiatus, in a new location, at 42 East 49th Street (Niccolini is a managing partner). Last March, the restaurant’s executive chef, Diego Garcia, thumbed through the Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds catalog and chose a virtual cornucopia of jewel-toned tomatoes, outlier vegetables, and leafy greens. Amador Cardona, the farmer at Rochambeau, nurtured the selections from seed, and the results, as Niccolini is pronouncing loud and clear, are beautiful.

Having moved beyond the tomatoes, Niccolini is brandishing two heads of romaine, calling out to anyone who will listen: “Look! Lunch!” The lettuces are perfect—swirling skirts of tender, unblemished leaves.

Three mornings a week, Niccolini — who was raised in the countryside north of Lucca and lives in Bedford with his wife, Lisa — swings by the farm on his way to work, rolls up his French cuffs, and picks produce with Cardona. On one occasion, he showed up in a chauffeured town car, harvested zucchini blossoms and tomatoes, piled the boxes into the trunk, and headed for the city.

The Four Seasons’ new home—sumptuous, labyrinthine, with a straight shot of razzle-dazzle—makes sly references to the landmarked space that the restaurant called home for more than five decades before losing its lease. The handsome sunken bar shares the same square dimensions as the aqua-blue pool in the former Pool Room but without the chlorine. Glittering hand-blown Venetian glass baubles strung in the windows facing 49th Street are reminiscent of the chain swags in the old place, but they’re fun and flirtatious.

On a recent late-summer night, the serene dining room, with its plush upholstery, mirrored columns, and fabulous stick lighting, made an unlikely backdrop for a display of colossal tomatoes imported from the northern suburbs. Petite red and gold cherry tomatoes adorned each table, presented like party favors in stylish footed baskets designed for the original restaurant by modernists Garth and Ada Louise Huxtable.

It was tomato time! Cut into geode-like slices and dressed at table-side in a ritual performed by Niccolini, now wearing a trim navy blazer; puréed in a silky gazpacho; quartered and crowded around a creamy blossom of burrata, with lemon-verbena-and-thyme-scented jelly and a handful of fresh black currants—these tomatoes (fetching prices that would make even a tomato blush) were thoroughly enjoying their fifteen minutes.

Garcia, who was a sous chef at Le Bernardin, and the opening chef at Gloria, in Hell’s Kitchen, before being courted by the Four Seasons, appreciates the hard work that goes into growing superior produce, and he visits the farm periodically for inspiration. His own gardening experience does not run deep: “I grew a bean plant in elementary school,” he said in an interview.

As the first frost approaches, Garcia—who says the restaurant speaks “an American vocabulary”—will assign coveted roles on the fall menu to Rochambeau’s cabbages, chards, curly kale, and Brussels sprouts.

Down on the farm, Niccolini has wandered farther. “Radishes!” he shouts, gathering the little red orbs into a nosegay. “Maybe you’d like to have a couple of radishes with butter?”

To watch the seasoned restaurateur—whose ability to tame tigers at peak lunch hour is legendary—delight in finding so many good things to eat growing all at once in one place, is plain fun.

“Eggplant! Hello!” He yells from a far row. And in a blink, he’s back at the farm stand, with a captive audience: wide-eyed twin toddlers. He hands each a big tomato and has the last word:  “If you eat tomatoes you will live a long life!”

 

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

             

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Trees for Good

Where to get your tree in the Bedford area

Bedford Shout Outs––Holidays 2018

This, that, and other things

Bedford Out & About - Dec

Upstairs Downstairs

Bernard’s and Sarah’s Wine Bar serve excellent food in both an elegant and casual setting

Where do competitive equestrians train in winter?

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

January 2019

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Hartford Boat Show (HBS50) features the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, deck and pontoon boats, sport and...

Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville, CT  06382
View map »


Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Legacy based on his famous "I Have a Dream" speech by creating a mobile that expresses your own dreams—for yourselves and your community. Each...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Telephone: 914-666-8041

More information

Drop in for help with any of your technology devices.  No appointment necessary.  First come first served.   PC, Google, Microsoft savvy volunteer with help you with troubleshooting,...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Telephone: 914-666-8041

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Come be a paleontologist for the day and create a dinosaur of your own imagination out of cardboard and tissue paper. Materials will be provided.  Ages 4 to 11 (under 5 with caregiver)Sponsored...

Cost: No Cost

Where:
Mount Kisco Public Library
100 East Main Street
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Sponsor: Friends of the Library
Telephone: 914-666-8041

More information

Wednesday, January 23rd at 7:00 PM Create a cool yarn hat in a single evening! All materials will be provided. This event is free and no registration is required. Ages 12 and up. Hosted by North...

Cost: Free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

We invite families to drop-in and enjoy interactive pop-up activity stations, gallery games, and art projects around the KMA.  Get inspired by Outrageous Ornament: Extreme Jewelry in the 21st...

Cost: Member price: Free Non-Member price: Free with Museum admission

Where:
Katonah Museum
134 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Katonah Museum of Art
Telephone: 914-232-9555
Website »

More information

Bring the baby and enjoy a lively conversation inspired by the art on view. Enjoy light snacks while socializing with newly-made friends. Crying babies welcome and activities provided for older...

Cost: Member price: Free Non-Member price with Museum admission: Free

Where:
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Sponsor: Katonah Museum of Art
Telephone: 914-232-9555
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Saturday, January 26th from 1:00 - 2:00 PM, Ages 4+ Attend for groovy crafts, snacks, games, and more in celebration of the Pete the Cat book series. This event is free and no registration is...

Cost: Free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

  Touchon transforms verbal language into handsome geometric compilations, to reveal the beauty and musicality of language characterized by warmly colored shapes, interlocking irregular grids and...

Cost: free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Jae Ko: 漂流 Drift,” the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.   In addition to showcasing...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: 203-801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

More information

Hudson Chorale, the area’s largest mixed voice chorus, is poised to please.  The group will begin its 2019 season with two matinee concerts on Saturday, January 26, 2019 at 3:00 pm and Sunday,...

Cost: Advance Sale-$25; Door-$30; Students-$10.

Where:
The Chapel at Maryknoll
55 Ryder Rd
Ossining, NY  10562
View map »


Sponsor: Hudson Chorale
Telephone: 1-800-838-3006
Contact Name: Anne Norum
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags