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The first time I met Sanford (Sandy) D’Amato, he was pulling a tray of open faced croque-monsieur sandwiches out of my mother’s oven.
For the culinary novices out there, that’s a super fancy grilled cheese with ham. The crusty bread had fresh-sliced ham on top, with hot, gooey Swiss cheese gently melting over the sides.
The cheese was just bigger than the size of each slice of bread and had pooled tiny, crispy bits onto the hot pan alongside the edge of each bread slice. Sandy slathered sharp Dijon mustard on top and took a bite. I knew I had found a lifelong friend.
Fast forward six years, and this James Beard award-winning chef, along with his wife/co-owner Angie D’Amato, has moved in just around the corner from where that magical croque-monsieur sandwich first appeared.
Photo: Welcome to the Farm by Kevin Miyazaki
Nestled at 154 Main Street in Hatfield, MA, you’ll find Good Stock Farm, Sandy and Angie’s new abode. After 23 years running the highly acclaimed Sanford Restaurant in Milwaukee, WI, the couple decided they would transition to a different pace.
So, they sold the restaurant to longtime chef de cuisine Justin Aprahamian and his wife (who runs front of the house, much like Angie did) and started up a small farm and cooking school in their private home in western Massachusetts. I have been fortunate enough to know Sangie (as I lovingly refer to them, because they are my Brangelina) since they moved to Hatfield.
Photo: Sangie In the kitchen by Kevin Miyazaki
If you love food, like learning about it or simply recognize the fact that food is essential nourishment, definitely treat yourself to one of their classes, which run throughout the fall and offer a little something for everyone.
Never picked up a knife before? Why not learn a bit before you start? Sit back and enjoy a demo class, where you will observe impeccable technique and skill in the kitchen, plus get the chance to ask questions. Each “student,” aka anyone who wants the best lunch of their life, will receive a recipe packet of the dishes being prepared, with plated tastes, wine and seasonal beverages throughout. Work lunch, anyone?
Photo: Grillin’ at Good Stock Farm by Kevin Miyazaki
I recently had the pleasure of attending a seafood demo class, where one of the many fabulous dishes I enjoyed was a bowl full of New England clams, freshly harvested and served with a fermented black bean broth and spicy Chinese sausage. It was the culinary summation of my personality in a bowl: hot, spicy, and a little funky.
Photo: New England clams by Kevin Miyazaki
Would you rather get your mitts a little dirty? How about a hands-on class that showcases familiar French dishes, maybe like the one Good Stock is hosting on October 4? The hands-on sessions walk you through a personalized, fun, one-on-one cooking experience, culminating in lunch or dinner. The menus vary, so make sure to check out their website. Personalized culinary adventures are also available, too. Date night just got a face-lift!
Photo: Dinner is served by Kevin Miyazaki
For novices and those who already know their way around the kitchen, Sandy and Angie’s cooking classes are truly an awesome time. You probably can’t expect to leave Good Stock Farm with Sandy’s full range of culinary expertise, but I’m pretty sure you will walk away with new friends, great recipes, and probably another class booked with your friends. For an appetizer before you head in or second helpings after, you can also check out Good Stock: Life on a Low Simmer, Sandy’s debut cookbook that came out last year.