Customers of Bluecashew, the high-end kitchenware store in Rhinebeck, adored its international assortment of gadgets, tools, and cookbooks. Where else could you find a Swedish-made kitchen assistant equipped with everything from a citrus press to a sausage horn? The store was so adored that in 2017, after seven years in Rhinebeck, owner JT McKay, partner Sean Nutley, and their dashing Shiba Inu, Briggie, expanded to a storefront in Kingston’s Stockade District.
McKay and Nutley wanted to incorporate a commercial kitchen into their business, but they were unable to install an exhaust at their Rhinebeck location. The 750 sq ft kitchen adds an entirely new experience to book signings, not to mention charity events, parties, and public demonstrations. And moving to one of the hottest neighborhoods in the Hudson Valley hasn’t hurt, either.
Bluecashew now offers 10-12 cooking classes per month, many of which are taught by Hudson Valley headliners like Ric Orlando, Agnes Devereaux, and Youko Yamamoto. In September, their lineup includes an arepas workshop with Chef Andrea Lubrano of Brooklyn’s Black Flamingo, as well as classes like Herbal Infusions and Flavors of India with Chef and Nutritionist Holly Shelowitz. These classes offer an opportunity to learn from chefs with accessibility that recipes can’t replicate.
The informal classroom atmosphere also allows “students” to bond in a way that they might not have since high school chemistry class. “The kitchen has been a fun way to facilitate and forge some new friendships too, with ‘cooking’ being a common interest for so many that’s often done at home alone,” says McKay. “It’s fun to see people have a platform to share what they’re proud of with each other.”