Hamilton Park Hotel's Chef C.J. Chambers' Copper Skillet has turned...Green!
Hamilton Park Hotel’s very own Executive Sous Chef, C.J Chambers, recently brought home the gold, I mean copper. The Copper Skillet Award that is! Chef C.J. was recently awarded the highest culinary award in a standoff competition between the best of the best chefs within the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) collection. When asked to comment on C.J.’s recent honor, VP/Managing Director Joe Crimmins stated “It has been a pleasure to watch C.J. grow and refine his culinary skills during his time with Destination Hotels & Resorts and Hamilton Park! He is very passionate about his profession and has a natural curiosity which all great chefs possess!” That same curiosity that Mr. Crimmins speaks of is now expanding outside of the kitchen into some of New Jersey’s finest farms. As a result, Hamilton Park is a place where companies can conduct meetings while knowing that the hotel in which they are conducting business is committed to sustainability practices.
C.J. has truly embodied the Destination Earth initiative, at Hamilton Park, to provide sustainable local produce to Hamilton Park’s guests. When ordering food from J. Ambrogi Foods, C.J. places a request for locally grown products however, when ordering from Ambrogi it is undetermined which farms the product is delivered from. In order to minimize Hamilton Park’s environmental footprint C.J. also partnered with Zone 7. Zone 7 distributes produce from a group of local organic sustainable farmers in New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania. An example of some food that Hamilton Park purchases from Zone 7 are cheeses, pastured and organic eggs, spinach, baby arugula, and green beans. Although working with J. Ambrogi Foods and Zone 7 seems it would be enough effort provide to local sustainable foods, C.J.’s curiosity took him one step further.
C.J. pounded the pavement. Actually it would be more appropriate to say pounded the dirt. On a mission, Chef Chambers began knocking on the doors of local farmers in Morris and Warren Counties to create partnerships with other organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to preserving the environment. Upon Chef’s travels he stumbled upon Alstede Farm in Chester, New Jersey. When speaking with representatives from Alstede he discovered that the farm provides a “CSA” program. The Community Supported Agriculture program provides a weekly box of the farm’s harvest in exchange for an annual commitment fee. The CSA is designed for residents in the local area however, would not provide enough produce for a hotel and conference center. C.J.’s initiative is to partner with Alstede to take part in the “Chef’s Hub” program that will provide larger quantities of produce on a consistent basis to hotels, restaurants and chefs.
C.J. will be also creating a miniature Chef’s Hub at Hamilton Park by planting a garden this week. The garden will conclude Hamilton Park’s “Green Week” in which all associates at the hotel are make an effort to take public transportation, eliminate the use of bottled water, and recycle old cell phones and cameras. Chef’s Garden will include tomatoes, peppers, basil, thyme, rosemary, cilantro, oregano, and parsley. In addition to partnering with Alstede Farms and gathering produce from our very own Chef’s Garden, C.J. and Michelle Mitterer, Director of Food and Beverage, will be making frequent visits to the Madison, New Jersey Farmer’s Market this summer for weekly local sustainable foods.