A New England Artisan Dinner | Behind the Scenes at Weekends with Yankee

Celebrating the magic of December in New England at a festive dinner at the Inn at Hastings Park with some of our favorite artisans and makers.

By Amy Traverso

Feb 22 2018

Inn at Hastings Park

The finished table

Photo Credit : Mark Fleming
As cohost of Weekends with Yankee, I just can’t wait for the season 2 premiere in April. We’ve been working hard to put together a great new season, so as its debut draws near, be sure to look for your local listings on the show’s website.

A New England Artisan Dinner | Behind the Scenes at Weekends with Yankee

We recently shot a holiday-themed episode for Weekends with Yankee that captures the magic of December in New England. One highlight: a festive dinner that we hosted at Artistry on the Green, the restaurant in the Inn at Hastings Park in Lexington, Massachusetts, with some of our favorite artisans and makers from around the region. Chef Stacy Cogswell produced a multicourse meal using locally sourced ingredients, including cheeses and charcuterie from New England Charcuterie, eggs from Pete & Jen’s Backyard Birds, vegetables from Wilson Farm, and an herb-crusted standing rib roast fromCodman Community Farms.
The tables at the Inn at Hastings Park, set with Farmhouse Pottery ceramic trees and Mally Skok linens
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming
The inn’s modern New England decor highlights local makers such as Connecticut’s Dunes and Dutchess, whose sconces light the walls of Artistry’s dining room, and Rhode Island’s O&G Studio, which made the restaurant’s Windsor chairs.
O&G Studio founders Sara Ossana and Jonathan Glatt.
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming
Yankee contributing editor Krissy O’Shea, who also writes the popular Cottage Farm blog, set the table beginning with a central “runner” of cedar and purple heather.
Contributing editor Krissy O’Shea with cinematographer Ken Willinger.
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming
She added bowls of clementine; plates, hurricane lamps, and ceramic trees from Farmhouse Pottery; linens from Mally Skok Design; and place cards from Sara Fitz. As the makers began to arrive, the crew pulled them aside for interviews and shot scenes in the kitchen and around the inn.
The finished table.
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming
A close-up of Mally Skok’s “Jessie” table linens in navy. Every guest received a box of chocolates from Maine’s Black Dinah Chocolatiers.
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming
Sara Fitzgerald O’Brien (Sara Fitz) adds her place cards to the table.
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming
While Chef Cogswell worked her magic in the kitchen, I made my contribution, a crispy caramelized sweet potato dish from Yankee’s November/December 2016 issue. The crew filmed each step as I arranged the sweet potato slices in a blooming floral pattern. At first, the potatoes wouldn’t stand up against the sides of the greased pan and kept sliding toward the center — a surprise complication that rattled my cool as the cameras rolled. But as I filled the dish, they started to hold.
Crispy Caramelized Sweet Potatoes.
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming
Meanwhile, guests mingled around the bar near a charcuterie board piled with goodies from New England Charcuterie.
A sampling of New England Charcuterie’s wares, from fennel sausage to thinly shaved lardo to cubes of country pâté.
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming
Soon, it was time to eat. The crew did a great job of sticking to the margins of the room so everyone could eat freely and forget they were being recorded.
James and Zoe Zilian from Farmhouse Pottery, with (at left) O&G’s Sara Ossana.
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming
The food was rooted in classic New England ingredients such as winter squash, hearty greens, root vegetables, and grass-fed beef, but — as with the guests and their wares — every traditional dish was reimagined in a fresh, unexpected way.

The Menu

  • Charcuterie and Cheese Board
  • Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Pomegranate and Black Sesame
  • Winter Greens Salad with Bagna Cauda and Blood Orange
  • Pain D’Epi (wheat-stalk bread) with Caramelized Onions and Herbs
  • Herb-Crusted Standing Rib Roast
  • Crispy Caramelized Sweet Potatoes 
  • Olive Oil Chiffon Cake and Mayfair Farm Almond Cake (a 2017 YankeeEditors’ Choice Food Award winner) with White Chocolate Mousse and Sliced Winter Citrus
Chef Cogswell’s winter greens salad with citrus and bagna cauda.
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming
I deliver food to Mally Skok (left) and Inn at Hastings Park owner Trisha Perez Kennealy (right).
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming
Lexington historian John Denis and Black Dinah Chocolatiers founder Kate Shaffer.
Photo Credit : Mark Fleming
By the time the dessert course rolled around, we were enjoying ourselves so much that we didn’t notice the film crew had packed up and headed out. In my years as a food editor, I’ve attended plenty of staged “dinner parties,” with guests sitting stiffly as a photographer tried to capture an authentic moment between them, or where the food spent so much time under lights that it had to be tossed in favor of delivery pizza once the photos were done. Not so here. It was a dinner party that happened to be filmed for a television show. I hope that simple joy comes through in the viewing. Learn more about Weekends with Yankee!