Chefs to Watch: Christopher Dunn of Hudson House of Nyack

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Chef Christopher Dunn

The 411 on Hudson House of Nyack.

Born: April 23, 1977 in Pompton Plains, N.J.

Grew up: Ellington, Conn.

Culinary School: The Institute of Culinary Education, Manhattan.

Experience: Started as a dishwasher at the age of 15. Worked as a pizza and short order cook, in a butcher shop, and then at Hard Rock Cafe and Collectors Cafe in Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Trio, Dylan Prime and Devin Tavern in Manhattan; and then Hudson House.

Cooking style: “I cook with traditional French technique, but my food is refined American, and I have been able to blend many different cuisines on to our menu. The idea for me is not to be stuck in one direction. I want the menu to be in constant motion. ”

Signature Dish: Carpet Bagger Steak, an 8-ounce Filet Mignon stuffed with Blue Point Oysters served over Organic Swiss Chard, Whipped Potato and finished with a Guinness Brown Sugar Demi.

Favorite kitchen tool: “My amazing staff. At no point in my career have I enjoyed such a committed group of cooks. We all work shoulder to shoulder. We succeed together.”

Why he’s one to watch: The Hudson House has been a consistent go-to in the Rockland dining scene for many years, but until Dunn took over the kitchen, the food was often surpassed by the stunning setting. Dunn is serving a regional American menu — pulled pork on a mile-high biscuit, shrimp and grits, duck confit salad — that changes weekly and is influenced by a melting pot of cultures from the South to France to Italy. Last winter’s cardamom- and pecan-crusted rack of lamb, for example, was a sultry dish that makes you want to savor it in front of a fire with a big red. He’s also a tech-savvy chef that engages with his customers through social media like Facebook and Twitter, which could be the wave of the future.

Future influence: “I have recently changed to a weekly revolving menu. The original goal when I came here was to earn the trust of our diners, and over the last three years I believe I have. Our daily specials became smash hits, and our menu was full of known standards. The new menu is a collaboration of both angles.  Now the goal is to guide the customer through each season, using the best foods available on a weekly basis, so they’ll try something new.”

Photo by Tania Savayan/TJN

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

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