Cape Crusader: Colonie’s Brad McDonald Forages Northward

Colonie‘s Executive Chef Brad McDonald may have an intimidating resume (Alain Ducasse, Per Se, Copenhagen’s foraging sensation Noma) but the salt-of-the-earth Mississippi boy isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. We headed north with McDonald to Island Creek Farm on Cape Cod, where he’s been sourcing his oysters for nearly five years, but which he’s only recently started visiting. As McDonald tells us: “We’re at a point where we can develop very close relationships with our purveyors. This trip was spawned from a desire to see their production, but also to check out their surroundings and see if there is any forageable sea vegetation.” This dedicated approach to ingredients has earned Brooklyn Heights’s Colonie rave reviews; in fact, the only non-local item they feature is Spanish octopus, which, says McDonald, is “unequalled from a ‘consistent quality of product’ point of view.” Luckily for us, there are plans afoot to open a space in DUMBO in the very near future, just steps from our office…

The nerve center at Island Creek Farm, Duxbury, MA.

Island Creek’s C.J. Husk takes advantage of low tide to forage for sea vegetation, a key ingredient in Chef McDonald’s Winter Oyster Stew.

Inside Island Creek’s “oysterplex.”.

Another day at the office.

In order to wade, you need waders.

Island Creek Farms, in all its glory.

The keys to a prosperous farm.

No gloves, no oysters.

One hundred oysters to the bag.

Chef McDonald mucks about.

L to R: Island Creek’s Dana Hale, Colonie Sous Chef Johnny Black, Husk, McDonald.

The goods.

Making the soup stock.

Colonie’s Winter Oyster Stew with Foraged Sea Lettuce.

Chef McDonald enjoying the fruits of his labor.

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