“(Bruno) knows food, she knows food well,” he said. “So I was under a lot of pressure cooking for her. She eats the best food in the country, around the world ...”
Also on the day’s menu was a stuffed rabbit leg, known as a ballotine, with house-made rye bread, smoked cherries, ramps, gnocchi and foie gras, an item that was also available to customers.
Though Ceia’s food is inspired by Portugal, Spain, France and Italy, Soucy roots his creations in the unique topography of the North Shore, a region that he sees as separate from New England as a whole.
“If you look at a map, you’ll see kind of a special region between farms, mountains and sea,” he said. “It’s really rich here with farmland, rich with grass-fed beef and seafood and foraging and wild edibles. This is, I feel, the Provence of America, minus the temperature difference. It’s a very bountiful place.”
Batista-Caswell and Soucy will officially receive their awards at a gala for all of the Coastal New England Rising Stars Awards winners on Tuesday in Providence, R.I.
Though she was honored to be recognized by StarChefs, Batista-Caswell called the awards a victory for Newburyport as a whole.
“We’re located in a great community where there are foodie people who can support it and understand it, who drive us to do more,” she said. “If we were in a small city that didn’t understand it, we wouldn’t be able to do it. Our success has really been about the commitment and loyalty and regular clientele that we have.”
Below, Soucy shares one of the recipes he prepared for the James Beard dinner.
Preserved New England Corn Sformato
Makes 10 4-ounce servings
1 quart bechamel sauce
11/2 cups ricotta cheese