You probably haven’t heard of Misto before. But don’t worry, you will.
The food concept is a relatively new one, even if its founders are not. In fact, between the two of them, husband-and-wife co-owners Wilson and Nadia Costa boast more than 25 years of experience in the restaurant industry. What’s more, much of that took place right here in the Hudson Valley.
Prior to launching their pop-up catering and event concept this summer, the duo carved very different paths for themselves before settling in the Hudson Valley. Wilson, who was born in Brazil, felt a passion for food at an early age and, when he moved to New York at 11, spent much of his youth watching cooking programs with his grandmother and learning from her. After a stint working as part of a pit crew for an import car racing company, he dove headfirst into New York’s restaurant scene. He started at Neuville-Sur-Seine, a French restaurant in Long Island, then hopped to Manhattan Bistro in SoHo.
It was there that he met Nadia, who came to the industry after changing careers from mechanical engineering to food and drink. After a period of working together at Le Garrick Restaurant in Manhattan’s theater district, the two waved New York City goodbye and said hello to their new home in Kingston.
It was in the Hudson Valley that the pair truly made their mark. Nadia started at The Downtown Café in Kingston before working as a floor manager and server at Terrapin in Rhinebeck for the past 17 years. Wilson, meanwhile, has contributed to kitchens like Le Canard Enchaine in Kingston and Terrapin. After opening Café Nouba, a Thai restaurant next to Le Canard Enchaine, he later went on to work as executive chef at Gigi Hudson Valley in Rhinebeck for 10 years and at Ca’Mea in Hudson for five.
With Misto, the husband-and-wife team combine forces for a new culinary project that focuses on their unique cultural heritages and wood-fired food. While they had long talked about doing something that made the most of their backgrounds, it wasn’t until the pandemic hit the Hudson Valley that they decided to put their ideas to paper.
Part pop-up, part private catering, Misto is a concept food program that spotlights the couple’s focus on healthy lifestyles, rich cultural heritages, and culinary creativity. In regard to the name, the inspiration came from a restaurant in which the couple dined during a trip to Brazil.
“Wilson liked the name, its meaning in Portuguese, “mixed,” and the fact that it was an easy name to remember,” Nadia explains. “Misto describes us. Misto describes our food, where we grew up, and our cultural heritages.”
Indeed, Misto is all about mixture, medley, and the harmony between two distinct things. Pulling from their respective Brazilian and Ukrainian heritages, Wilson and Nadia craft dishes that are as clean as they come, filled to the brim with vegetables, and flavored in ways that leave diners thinking about them long after the meal concludes. As head chef, Wilson draws inspiration from the world cultures of Italy, Brazil, Thailand, and Spain, to name a few, and Nadia does the same with her desserts. Depending on the occasion, their menu could feature anything from Spanish beef stew with short ribs to tomato pie and grilled summer squash with basil and backyard pickled chili. Many of the dishes, such as the tomato pie crust, utilize gluten-free substitutes in ode to the couple’s own gluten-free preferences.
“Our family eats 100-percent gluten-free because we feel better when we do,” Nadia reveals.
Another defining characteristic of Misto cuisine is that the ingredients are as local as can be. The couple source much of their produce from their own backyard garden, which Nadia starts from seed as early as February.
“This year, we grew 12 types of tomatoes, seven types of peppers, onions, kale, cucumber, summer and winter squash, watermelon, many types of lettuces, strawberries, regular and Chinese broccoli, broccoli rabe, peas and sugar snaps, cabbage, beets, lemongrass, Asian winged beans, lemongrass, Job’s Tears (gluten-free grain), Brussels sprouts, radishes, artichoke, [and] lots and lots of herbs and edible flowers,” Nadia lists. “We also work very closely with many local farms and specialty purveyors such as Northwind Farms [in Tivoli], Sawkill [Farm in Red Hook], McGrath Cheese Company, Eger Brothers [Farm Stand in Hudson], and Tivoli Mushrooms [in Hudson].”
Currently, Misto operates as both a pop-up ordering service and a catering program. Although it only debuted this summer, it quickly booked a number of weddings for couples looking to make the best of unconventional vow exchanges. For one bride and groom who canceled their destination wedding in Italy, for instance, Misto signed up to cater a ceremony for just the two of them at an Airbnb at CS & W Farms in Germantown. Recently, it also catered a vegan wedding for a party of 10 in Hudson.
As for the pop-ups, Misto got started with a weekend service at the Starlite Motel in Kerhonkson. During the week, it posts menus on Instagram that are available for email orders, with pickup in Germantown on the weekend. Trust us when we say you will want to follow that account.
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Saturday 9/5/2020 On the menu this week… SMOKED GRILLED RIBEYE STEAK. Brandy, Shallot and Garlic Butter. Broccoli Rabe. Parmesan Gigante Beans. $25/Portion A LA CARTE: WATERMELON, FETA, ARUGULA + MINT SALAD. Chile Vinaigrette. $8/Portion KEYLIME PIE. Back for one last time before the end of the summer! That incredible combination of tart and sweet that is absolutely irresistible. $8/Portion Email orders to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon on Thursday 9/3. Orders must include name, phone # and pick up time (between 3 and 6pm) on Saturday 9/5. Instructional reheat video will be included. Venmo/PayPal or Cash accepted. http://www.venmo.com/Wilson-Costa-1 http://PayPal.me/WilsonCosta559 (845)750-1939 #germantownny #churrascada #brasilinthehudsonvalley #handmade #churrasqueira #curbsidepickup #hudsonvalleyny #glutenfree #foodie #foodiesofinstagram #local #woodfire #foodfamily #backyardgarden #smokedribeye #endofsummer #keylimepie
Misto may be relatively new in the Hudson Valley, but Wilson and Nadia already have big aspirations for the future. Wilson is a D.I.Y. pro and built his own wood-fired cooking equipment. Looking ahead, Nadia admits that he’d love to build his own food truck. No matter what, he and Nadia will continue to cook with as many clean and local ingredients as they can.
“As a chef, Wilson’s number one priority is a clean kitchen, food consistency, and well-seasoned food,” Nadia says. “Misto is about our healthy lifestyle (Wilson cycles and I run), our family, our garden, sustainability, using resources of the Hudson Valley, and our connection with the farmers.”
Want to see the deliciousness Wilson and Nadia whip up next? Follow along @n_misto_w for updates on Misto in the Hudson Valley.