Professionals Dinner at PDT Market – 6/25/23 

Professionals Dinner at PDT Market, Saratoga Springs, NY
Article by Ilona Weisman, Chargée de Presse
Photos by William Harris, Bailli

PDT Market in Saratoga Springs is Disneyland for devotees of the culinary arts. No wonder then that on Sunday, June 25th Albany Bailli William Harris gathered the chapter’s professional members at PDT to show his appreciation for their unique contributions to the bailliage.

From its gelato pod machine (read it and weep, Nespresso) to a machine that vends champagne splits (when fed Midas-sized gold coins monogrammed “PDT” on one side and “Moet” on the other), Maître Rôtisseur Adam Foti’s venture is a supermarket of the finest of fine foods, a Harrod’s style food hall, and a dog-friendly community hangout all rolled into one. The popular caterer unveiled the place in April—40,000 square feet of architectural, culinary, and grocery grandeur in a reimagined space that had been part of the Price Chopper chain.  PDT is short for pomme-de-terre reflecting Chef Foti’s French as well as Tuscan influences. The market’s credo “Eat, Shop, Learn” bespeaks not just its basic provisions, but a hip takeaway menu, food to enjoy at an inviting cafe near the full-service bar, specialty foods, gifts, cooking classes, and just plain fun.

A floral department on an antique cart fit for Eliza Doolittle resides next to a pale pink sofa and magenta suede club chairs, all in the shadow of a wall-encompassing mural of peonies.  You can visit a bar titled Make Your Own Charcuterie or try Create Your Own Six-Pack, the latter featuring United Soda’s hot new 30-calorie healthy sodas. The twelve naturally flavored, organically sweetened beverages are vegan, caffeine- and gluten-free in cans of rainbow colors: geranium for Strawberry Basil, chartreuse for Pear Elderflower, Gingery Ale in moss green.  Giant spools from defunct knitting mills serve as display tables throughout the market for teapots and mugs, festive disposable party goods, tins of amaretti.      

Situated between the bar and a demonstration studio that feels like a chic home kitchen is an open concept event space with a pair of marble high top tables, each seating a dozen or more.  There professional members sipped Champagne and milled about near the Moet machine.  (Moet and machine, two words I never imagined I would use next to one another.)  The dispenser of bubbly is flanked by a modern, curved blue velvet sofa topped with screaming yellow throw pillows. A white feather torchiere stands behind the sofa like an electrified ostrich.

Arrayed in the demo kitchen a cornucopia of small bites: charcuterie, fresh fruit and cheeses, a drizzle of preserve, chunks of exotic pink pineapple, corn fritters dotted with crème fraîche, warm-from-the-fryer potato chips, chilled shrimp. A casual dinner buffet offered three kinds of pizzette, lobster salad on brioche, classic slaw, and bread salad with bacon, tomatoes, and the merest slivers of shallots.

Vice Chargée de Missions Carmela Daubney, restaurateur of the late and dearly missed Sam’s Italian eatery, approved the leanness of the mortadella.  Chef Foti and soon to be inducted James Warren, proprietor of Scarlet Knife and host of the chapter’s recent Mondiale, traded stories about feedback from the internet.  Certified Master Chef Dale Miller Vice Conseiller de la Toque talked about his appointment to the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Culinary Partnership whose mission is to promote diplomacy through food, hospitality, and the American dining experience.  And Vice Conseiller Culinaire Provincial Hon. Widjiono Purnomo, retired chef/owner of fine dining establishment Yono’s, held court at the high top.

Professionals bring vibrance and dimension to the Albany Chaîne, and they comprise nearly a third of the chapter. Many have hosted more than one dinner over the years.  The 2022 Induction Dinner in Glens Falls by Maître Rôtisseur A.J. Richards and Vice Chargée de Medias Sociaux Christina Richards was described as “art on a dinner plate.” The Induction Dinner at Franklin Plaza in 2019 was the memorable work of a trio of professional members: Maîtres Rôtisseur Traiteur Michael Cocca Jr. and Robert Hare, and our PDT host Adam Foti.  Maître Rôtisseur Randall Brown was inducted at that dinner—he recently hosted the wonderful Forage, Funghi & Fire dinner at his restaurant Beardsley Castle.  On the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, Master Chef Dale Miller created an extraordinary meal based on the menu served hours before the ship went down. 

As the evening drew to a close Bailli Harris presented each working chef in attendance with a chef’s hat adorned with the Chaîne logo.  The professional members are a valued group. And the remarkable PDT Market—a must-see for travelers in the world of food and drink, professional or otherwise—was just the place to demonstrate our esteem.