Rising Star recipe: Hector Aquino of Grano in Schenectady

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Table Hopping and timesunion.com sponsor the Rising Star Chefs component of the annual Wine & Dine for the Arts festival, being held this coming weekend primarily at the Albany Capital Center convention facility in downtown Albany.

As a prelude to the festival, I’m running recipes from each of the 2020 class of Rising Star chefs, who represent restaurants from Albany to Glens Falls and  Broadalbin. They are:

Hector Aquino, executive chef, Grano, Schenectady
Harley Bleitzhofer, executive chef, The Hollow Bar + Kitchen, Albany
Seth Corey, chef-owner, Salt: American Bistro & Wine Bar, Broadalbin
Raymond Galka, chef de partie, Provence, Guilderland
Jim Hughes, sous chef, The Wine Bar, Saratoga Springs
Colin Miner, chef de cuisine, Park 26 at The Queensbury Hotel, Glens Falls
Kevin Myers, chef-owner, Ribbon Cafe, Ballston Spa

Hector Aquino

The second recipe is from Hector Aquino of Grano, who offers his version of the Puerto Rican chicken stew sancocho. (The first was crab cakes Corey. See that recipe here.)

The Rising Star program identifies up-and-coming area chefs. They were nominated by members of the public here on the blog; voting on finalists was conducted on the festival’s website, and the winners were chosen based on voting and on surprise visits to the chefs’ restaurants by members of the festival board’s Rising Star Chefs committee. This is the 10th class of Rising Star Chefs. (The program was begun in the second year of the festival.)

Because voting was so close among committee members, there are seven Rising Stars for 2020, instead of the six chosen in the past. The Rising Star Chefs will cook for the festival’s grand tastings and be guests at its capstone event, a gala cooked by Wine & Dine for the Arts’ Signature Chefs, a who’s-who of Capital Region culinary talent.

Festival events include an opening reception at Albany City Hall, followed by two grand tastings, slider slam and closing gala. Tickets are available online now.

Over the past decade, with annual attendance totaling about 3,000, Wine & Dine for the Arts has given more than $1 million to Albany arts groups. The principal beneficiaries of the 2020 festival will be the Albany BarnCapital Repertory TheatrePalace TheatrePark Playhouse and Albany Center Gallery. Secondary beneficiaries will be Albany Institute of History & ArtAlbany Symphony Orchestra, Black Dimension in Art, Capitaland ChorusCapital Cinema Cultural ExchangeSteamer No. 10African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region and Theatre Voices.



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