Chefs Collaborative BBQ Exeter, Rhode Island



Chefs Collaborative assembled some of Rhode Island’s favorite chefs for a pond-side Harvest BBQ from at Schartner Farms in Exeter. The annual event promotes awareness of local and sustainable ingredients available in the Ocean State, and the chefs included Derek Wagner of Nicks on Broadway, Jake Rojas of Tallulah on Thames and Tallulah’s Taqueria, Matt Gennuso of Chez Pascal and the Wurst Kitchen, James Mark of north and north bakery, David Reynoso of Al Forno, Matthew Varga of Gracie’s and Ellie’s Bakery, Beau Vestal of New Rivers, Chad Hart of One Bellevue at the Hotel Viking, Chad Hoffer and Tyler Burnley of Thames Street Kitchen and Mission, Matthew Petersen of 22 Bowen’s, James Day of The Beehive, Champe Speidel of Persimmon and Persimmon Provisions and Eli Dunn of Eli’s Kitchen.


Christine Gu, Rosie Randolph and Grace Gibbons with Chef Champe Seidel at Persimmon’s fried chicken and mashed potato table.


Rosie tries her first fresh oyster.








The Chefs Collaborative was an awesome experience. All of the food, from simple grilled cheese to elaborate smoked fish salads, was delicious. As we entered the event, a entire roasted pig took up a table to one side, and its pork was some of the best I’ve ever had. We were able to watch as Mr. Calisto tried his very first oyster from New Rivers Restaurant in Providence, and had all kinds of dishes at the different tables. My favorite dish was a apple dessert, and after asking soRosie Randolph ’16


Mr. Calisto trying his first oyster.

Sonnet: Pearl and Oyster

Shall I compare thee to a grilled oyster?

Thou art more spicy and more savory:

Raging fire does torture its shelter,

And taste buds’ passion too transitory.

Sometimes too high the tongue of fire leaps,

It consumes the fuel and then burns the grill;

The shell will turn black and then the juice leaks,

The content dries, leaves nothing to fulfill.

But your pearl’s light won’t fade or decrease,

Protected by the oyster and stands still.

As the heat remains, no one counts the hour;

We kiss, and I’ll have the ocean devoured.

                                 by Yanqi Zhang ’15


New Rivers – serving local oysters and marinated mussel salad


Christine Gu and Yanqi Zhang enjoy oysters and fried chicken.

Photo Oct 19, 4 25 56 PM

Apple confit with cinnamon shortbread, whipped cream and maple syrup.

Photo Oct 19, 5 36 00 PM

Brined pork belly with oyster mushrooms from One Bellevue.

Chefs Collaborative is an event where renowned chefs from all around Rhode Island come to cook and show their food to the public. I was able to have a variety of food ranging from bluefish (Nick’s on Broadway) to apple confit. All the food was exceptional. My personal favorite was the pork belly from One Bellevue at the Hotel Viking. It was brined and pan-fried served with a lobster mushrooms and a small salad. The texture of the pork belly was great, the meat falling apart as I bit into it. The flavors from the fat of the belly were also exceptional. Another great dish was the Apple Confit served with cinnamon shortbread from the Newport Restaurant Group’s pastry chef Matthew Peterson. The flavor of the apple went well with the sablés (short bread). The apple was sliced very thin and then wrapped in tinfoil and cooked for 3 hours. He then cooled the apples and repeated this process four times to create this dish. My experience at Chef’s Collaborative showed how hard it is for the chefs to create a top notch dish and the effort behind it.–Sam Choi ’16


Nelson Choi and Sam Choi make sure to try everything.


David Ingraham and Schuyler try smoked bluefish beignets from Eli’s Kitchen.

The originally small BBQ taking place in Exeter, Rhode Island has recently boomed in popularity according to the locals. Chefs and restaurants from all over Rhode Island came to give samples of their dishes to the hungry guests from near and far. Some people that I met at the BBQ starved themselves for the whole day just so they could fit more in their stomachs. These starving patrons of good food are not starving themselves in vain. The food at the BBQ was simple yet baffling, light yet satisfying, gone in a minute but the taste stayed for ever; I couldn’t get enough and neither could my companions. With the live music and approachable people, the BBQ in Exeter was unforgettable. —David Ingraham ’17


Grilled cheese on flax bread with tomato cheddar jalapeno soup from the Beehive Cafe, Bristol, RI.


Schuyler Jordan tries the fried chicken and mashed potatoes from Persimmon.








I have never seen such simply made food that tasted so good. The BBQ in Exeter blew away all expectations I had for a school trip. Although the weather was chilly, the warm tomato cheddar jalapeno soup with the grilled ham and gruyere sandwich from the Beehive Cafe in Bristol, RI was my personal cure-all. Although there were many other complex options to choose from, I kept finding myself at the grilled cheese stand. Maybe it was just because of the warmth that it gave me on that cold autumn day, or the short line, but the tomato soup kept bringing me back. With its simple ingredients, I could somehow not decide what they were. It was slightly spicy but cheesy all at the same time. —Schuyler Jordan ’15


Christine Gu, Rosie Randolph and Grace Gibbons with Chef Champe Seidel at Persimmon’s fried chicken and mashed potato table

Back at home, a roasted suckling pig completes a formal dinner as a starter, no matter if it is a wedding banquet or a birthday party. I went to a music concert this year, and coincidentally, I saw the singer burning incense in front of a roasted pig before the concert started. For entertainment, some chefs replace the pig’s eyes with colorful light bulbs, while waiters serve the dish with the lights turned darker. This dish definitely delights the guests.

Photo Oct 19, 5 27 58 PM

Tallulah on Thames welcomed guests with their delicious roast pig.

At the Chefs Collaborative, I learned that various countries cook roast suckling pigs, including the United States and a lot of Spanish-speaking countries. They also serve this dish on special occasions. I had a slice of the American style roasted pig and felt totally different. The skin is chewy and rough, though the texture of the pig balanced well with the salty meat and the sweet/ sour sauce.

It surprised me that roasted pigs can taste so different. But they do have one thing in common: wherever people serve roasted suckling pigs, it shows the importance of that meal.–Christine Gu ’17


Kai Smith tries the chili.

There isn’t much I can say about the Chef’s Collaborative, honestly. Rather, there isn’t much I can say without sounding like an absolute pig. All I did was eat. In the car on our way to Exeter, where the Collaborative was taking place, all I could hear my stomach grumbling and screaming orders at me. I’m a slave to my stomach. We arrived right on time because I felt like I was going to pass out from hunger and as we walked through the gate, I turned to see a huge string of people waiting to get in. And these people must have been either psychic or professional chefs or something because someone was waiting right at the gate to feed me. I got a nice full plate of pork (right of off the huge pig carcass on the table in front of me, by the way) and some vegetables. Admittedly, I didn’t finish the vegetables. Perks of being at boarding school is that my mom isn’t here to force me to eat my greens.


Grace, Kai, and Rosie stay warm with the help of good food. And mittens.

I continued on an excursion to try all of the foods that the chefs had to offer, towing my friends Grace and Rosie along with me so that I didn’t feel utterly alone in the midst of all the people that were enjoying themselves at this festival of taste. I tried oysters for the first time, I ate pork belly, I had these awesome thin apple slices, I had fancy grilled cheese, and I got to eat some banging chili. It was a good time. And despite it being extremely cold, I’m really glad I went. because if I had not gone, I would have been stuck at school eating food that I am not at liberty to speak about, if you catch my meaning.–Kai Smith ’15


Christine Gu, Rosie Randolph and Grace Gibbons with Chef Champe Seidel at Persimmon’s fried chicken and mashed potato table.


Eli’s Kitchen from Warren and their smoked bluefish beignets.


Grace enjoys Chez Pascal’s beef shank stew with white beans and herb ricotta.


Helpful drivers Kevin Calisto and Lisa Kerr enjoy the apple confit.


Nelson enjoys another full plate.


Photo Oct 19, 5 50 58 PM

Mrs. Bonin captures the Gracie’s Chefs serving Hopkins lamb mortadella topped with caponata and honey whipped cheese.

Photo Oct 19, 4 35 51 PM

Persimmon’s delicious fried chicken, mashed potatoes and coleslaw.









The following link opens a video of Chefs Collaborative Autumn Harvest BQ 2014: