For chef Sonya Coté, named one of The Daily Meal’s "Top 10 Badass Women Chefs in America", owner and executive chef of Austin’s Hillside Farmacy, The Homegrown Revival, and Eden East, cooking is more than just putting food on a plate - it’s about creating "edible pieces of art", utilizing locally-grown and raised ingredients for freshness and nutrition, and educating future generations. Sonya is a native Rhode Islander, and Eat Drink RI is thrilled to bring this awesome lady back to her home state. I met Sonya years ago (through a friend of a friend - it’s Rhode Island after all), and could not be more excited for her upcoming four-night dinner series: The Rhode Island Round-Up, held August 19-22.
In 2012, she opened Hillside Farmacy, an artisanal eatery and specialty grocery store in East Austin that Bon Appétit called one of "The Best Spots in America to Taste the Revival". Coté was also named one of Marie Claire’s “Women on Top”; the national award recognizing women who have shown “unparalleled talent, vision and backbone in blazing their own trails." Coté earned the distinguished award for her creative cuisine and as a tireless champion of local food. In 2013, she appeared on The Food Network’s “Chopped”.
Born from her desire to tell the classic story of the time-honored connection between the cook and the farmer, Eden East strives for absolute authenticity, in a charming and whimsical (yet unpretentious) atmosphere. Situated on Springdale Farm, the distance between farm and table doesn’t get much closer than this. All of their produce, dairy, meats, eggs and cheeses are locally sourced from nearby farms and ranches, and most of the vegetables and herbs served are harvested just a few feet away from the kitchen.
In June of 2013, she began welcoming guests into her outdoor dining room with a unique concept—a weekend, reservation-only dinner destination that is neither a restaurant, nor a food truck. “We’re not entirely sure how to define it ourselves, other than to say that it is an enchanting space where guests are encouraged to make themselves at home.”
There’s something very special about Sonya. She isn’t part of the local food movement because it’s cool or trendy. She truly believes in the mission, and has dedicated her life to supporting it. She encourages creative freedom among her staff and believes that experimentation is what makes cooking fun. So, she’s packing up her entire team in an RV and road-tripping it to RI to bring her exquisite dining experience easterly.
Expect bold Texas flavors and ingredients merged with local products from New England farmers and purveyors, including Blackbird Farm, Walrus and Carpenter Oysters, Jonathan Edwards Winery, Revival Brewing Company and more. The four dinners will be held at Horseshoe Farm, a private estate surrounded by miles of fences along the coastal countryside in Westerly, RI.
Produced by Eat Drink RI, the Eden East “Rhode Island Round-Up” will recreate the unequaled dining experience that her guests enjoy each weekend. Eden East will donate a percentage of sales from the dinners to Colors for a Cause RI, a non-profit organization that supports families with children suffering from cancer.
“I grew up in Rhode Island and return every summer to cook for my dear family and close friends. Last year, we stepped things up a notch and hosted a few intimate supper clubs by the sea that everyone really seemed to enjoy. Inspired by the experience, we have decided to return this August with the entire Eden East team for what we’re anticipating to be a magical experience for all involved. Come, eat and share the summer bounty with us, Rhode Islanders!” - Chef Sonya Coté
Each evening begins with a reception at 6 p.m., featuring a raw bar and cocktails by Texas-based Deep Eddy Vodka, followed by a seated dinner paired with wine & beer. As members of The Lady Project, I hope you’ll come out and support Sonya and her team. She sends a big Texas THANK YOU and is happy to offer a 15% ticket discount for Lady Project members. To purchase tickets, please visit: http://www.eatdrinkri.com/eden-east-ladies. The event is tented and will be held rain or shine.
Katie Kleyla is a creative strategist with a background in politics, events and marketing. Before joining Eat Drink RI as the Director of Development, Kleyla oversaw marketing, development and events for Gracie’s, Providence’s only AAA 4-diamond award winning restaurant, and Ellie’s Bakery, a Parisian style boulangerie. Kleyla has a B.A. in Music from the University of Rhode Island, and is a lifelong resident of Rhode Island. In addition to her involvement in the food community, she is an actively performing musician, featured as the vocalist for the New Providence Big Band, a 20-piece swing band. She resides in Providence.