WHIM Dinners 2014


Whim is a unique “pop up” dining experience held at Smolak Farms every Wednesday evening  from July 9 – August 20. Join some of New England’s finest chefs as they cook you a multi-course dinner in the rough, in the Smolak Farms Pine Grove.   A Farm to Table experience, all produce is grown on our Farm so you will experience the seasonal fresh fruits, berries and vegetables. Menus will be posted two weeks before each dinner.  The Chef will create their menu on a “Whim” based on the produce available from Smolak Farms.

Registration begins at 6:00pm
First Course is served at 7:00pm
Beverages are purchased at the event (please do not bring your own.)
PLEASE NOTE: Menu’s are subject to change based on availability and the Chef’s “whim.”                                        

 Media Sponsor:

northshore magazine

  2014 Whim Guest Chefs…

July 9 –  Chef Danny Azzarello – Burtons Grill  
Danny Azzarello began his restaurant career at a young age over 13 years ago.  He began managing back of the house operations for Outback Steakhouse in 2001 and worked in multiple units all over the Northeast Region.  In 2006, he continued his culinary education by taking a position with The Cheesecake Factory as Executive Chef of the Burlington, MA location.  Danny helped the restaurant achieve the highest sales in the Northeast territory during that time.  In 2007, Danny was offered an Executive Chef position with Burtons Grill, a Massachusetts based restaurant group. Through hard work and dedication, Danny was eventually named Director of Culinary Operations in 2010 where he currently holds a position.  Danny has direct influence in the creation of menus, major purchasing decisions, training of new management and overall management of the culinary operations of the business, and has been in charge of opening eight new Burtons Grill locations in four different states during his time. Danny’s partner for the Whim Dinner Series is Food and Beverage Manager Dan Greenough, a veteran of restaurants on both the East and West coast and former Executive Chef at Burtons Grill of Hingham. Dan oversees all recipe development, execution of food and beverage and overall culinary vision for Burtons Grill.   The two have teamed up with the culinary team at our North Andover location to make this dinner unforgettable!

July 16 – Chef Eric Brennan, Post 390

A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Chef Brennan brings  years of classic technique and training combined with a deep appreciation for local ingredients. Eric landed in Boston in 1989 as Chef de Cuisine at Aujourd’hui in the Four Seasons. This led to a 12 year career with the luxury hotel group, including appointments as Executive Chef at the Four Seasons Biltmore Resort in Santa Barbara and the Toronto flagship hotel where he ran 3 restaurants, private dining rooms, banquets and room service. Through his tenure as Executive Chef as several prestigious Boston restaurants, including The Federalist and Harvest, Eric earned a reputation for his savory hand-crafted American cuisine, expert technique and deep-rooted relationships with farmers. At Post 390 Eric puts a contemporary twist on the traditional tavern experience, with seasonally inspired dishes that reflect his passion for fresh ingredients and unforgettable flavors.

July 23 – Chef Andy Husbands,  Tremont 647  

A favorite of the Whim Dinner Series, Andy Husbands is returning for the fourth year! He is the award-winning Chef/Owner of Tremont 647 in Boston’s upscale South End neighborhood restaurant for eighteen years. Chef Husbands has been praised both locally and nationally for his bold flavors, commitment to using the best ingredients and seasonality, receiving nods from countless publications, from the Boston Globe and Boston magazine to Wine Spectator and Star Chefs. Andy has been a James Beard Best Chef New England Semi-Finalist twice and was honored as the Massachusetts Restaurant Association as Executive Chef of the Year 2014.
He has published four books: The Fearless Chef, Wicked Good Barbecue, Wicked Good Burgers and most recently, Grill to Perfection with co-authors Chris Hart of the IQUE BBQ team and Andrea Pyenson of the Boston Globe. 

 When he is not in the kitchen he is competing with his internationally known BBQ Team: IQUE.  In 2009 IQUE became the first non-southern team to win the World Championships at The Jack Daniels World Championships in Lynchberg, TN.  In 2007 IQUE place first in brisket out of 510 teams at the Kansas City Royal. 

 Devoted to helping his community, Chef Husbands has been working to eliminate childhood hunger for the past 20 years with the non-profit Share Our Strength.  He is an Honorary chair of Share Our Strength’s premier event Taste of the Nation, as well as, has hosted for the past 17 years a benefit for Share Our Strength that has raised over $180,000 to fight childhood hunger.  Andy is also on the Restaurant Committee for the Rodman Celebration, raising funds for youth focused social service agencies that support at-risk kids in Massachusetts.

 Andy also has a segment on WBUR’s Radio Boston called Farm to Fork, where he visits local farms, talks to farmers, and creates a recipe from their harvest.

July 30 – Chef Brian Rae, Rialto

Brian grew up in Ridgefield, Connecticut.  After high school, he went to The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, graduating in 1997. Rae then worked in restaurants in his Connecticut hometown, at Bernard’s and The Elms Inn. The zealous young chef’s introduction to serious seafood was with Chef Steve Cavagnaro at Nantucket’s long-standing seafood institution Straight Wharf. Cavagnaro’s simple approach to food taught Rae how to best utilize and highlight ingredients.  Seeking more experience in a culinary city, Rae joined the opening team for Rick Moonen’s first Vegas restaurant, RM Seafood, as sous chef. After a year, Moonen promoted Rae to chef de cuisine of the fine dining arm of the two-in-one restaurant. Under Moonen, Rae has continued his extensive training in seafood, with a focus on sustainability, and further developed his ingredient-driven sensibility.  In 2008 Brian won a rising StarChefs award. Brian joined the Rialto team as sous chef in November 2009, later taking on the role of Chef de Cuisine in 2010.

August 6 – Chef Rich Morin, Lineage – 

The kitchen has always been a second home to chef Richard Morin, who got his start at a young age cooking for family gatherings. Morin landed his first sous chef position in 2004 at the Napa Valley Grille in Providence. It wasn’t long, however, before he was beckoned back to the Boston area by an offer at the famed L’Espalier. Under Executive Chef Frank McClelland, Morin honed his skills, and in a matter of months, was promoted to Pastry Chef. He was also instrumental in designing the rooftop garden that provided the majority of L’Espalier’s herbs and greens before the restaurant moved to its current location on Boylston Street.

Morin teamed up with McClelland again in 2007, this time in the kitchen at Sel de la Terre. Morin worked his way up to Sous Chef of the Provencal favorite and played a key role in the opening of the Natick location.

During his Sel de la Terre days, Morin caught the attention of chef Jeremy Sewall. Sewall and Eastern Standard co-proprietor Garrett Harker approached Morin in 2009 about coming on board as Executive Sous Chef and he happily accepted.

He shares Sewall’s farm-to-table culinary philosophy and has already become an integral part of Lineage‘s small, close-knit staff. He is thrilled to share his passion for fresh ingredients and unique flavor combinations with the people of Brookline and beyond.


  August 13 – Chef Mary Dumont, Harvest 


Mary Dumont is a native of New Hampshire and was raised in a family of restaurateurs. She grew up watching her parents grow their businesses into great successes. After attending Simmons College in Boston for Literature, Mary followed a whim and moved to San Francisco at the age of 21. She immersed herself in the culture of food and dining and knew it was her calling. She began working with such culinary talents as Traci Des Jardins of San Francisco’s Jardiniere, Laurent Manrique of Campton Place and Daniel Patterson of Elizabeth Daniel. Further honing her skills, she worked at Blackbird in Chicago and then was called back to California by Chef Manrique to be the executive chef at Sonoma Saveurs in Sonoma, California. Chef Manrique had become Mary’s mentor and taught her the art of respecting the past and refining her palate. Mary returned home to New England in 2005 and was the opening chef at The Dunaway Restaurant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where she was honored by Food and Wine magazine as a “Best New Chef” of 2006. In 2007, Mary became the executive chef of Harvest in Cambridge, Massachusetts—a restaurant in the heart of Harvard Square, near Harvard University celebrating farm-to-fork New England cuisine long before it became the trend. Mary has brought the food to a new level of creativity and innovation. Her secret ingredient in the Harvest kitchen is not only all the local produce but all the herbs she grows in her own kitchen garden. Mary’s signature is her contemporary New England cuisine with classic French inspiration; she likes to tell a story with the seasons. She is known for having a keen respect for local farmers and fishermen, plus a passion for food preservation, and creating intricate dishes with a skilled hand. Mary has long been a proponent of children’s gardening programs and increasing the quality of school lunches; she is planning her own farm dinner series with local farms and friends to support sustainable farming in New England. Mary is straightforward, honest and doesn’t mince words with her humor or her passion for food; she’s been told the combination can be intimidating. In addition to the multiple awards and accolades she has received, Mary is the first chef from New Hampshire ever to be honored in Food and Wine. She competed in the 3rd season of The Next Iron Chef, which aired October 3, 2010. Mary has also competed on Iron Chef America, as she battled Cat Cora in 2006.


August 20 – Chef Mark Sapienza, The Langham Hotel  Executive Chef Mark Sapienza began his career as a chef at a small Italian tratoria while attending Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. Upon graduating with honors in 1984 with an Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor’s degree in Food Service Management, he became Chef Tournant of the nationally recognized Apley’s restaurant in the Sheraton, Boston, later joining Horizon Hotels as an Executive Sous Chef.

Traveling the nation with Horizon Hotels, Chef Sapienza worked at a number of properties including the Brazilian Court Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida; the Montauk Yacht Club and Inn in Montauk, New York; and Arrowood of Westchester in Rye Brook, New York. His career with Horizon later created an opportunity for Chef Sapienza to work at the world renowned Claridge’hotel in London, England.  

Upon his return from London in 1988, Chef Sapienza settled in Boston and began working at the five-star Boston Harbor Hotel. Following an 8-year career as Executive Sous chef for the hotel, he was appointed Executive Chef of Le Meredien Hotel, located in Boston’s bustling financial district. The hotel became The Langham, Boston in 2003, where Chef Sapienza continues to oversee the Kitchen today.  

As Executive Chef of The Langham, Boston, Chef Sapienza hones his skills and wealth of knowledge directing three dining venues and numerous banquet events. His culinary creations, primarily made with fresh, in-season New England ingredients, span a number of cuisines such as New American, Italian and French. In BOND Restaurant | Lounge Chef Sapienza’s menu pairs with a chic, metropolitan atmosphere while the menu in the recently opened Reserve features fare that pairs with champagne, wine and good conversation. Café Fleuri features The Langham’s famous Saturday Chocolate Bar and Sunday City Brunch.

 Chef Sapienza and his restaurants have received numerous accolades over the years. He has presented a dinner at The James Beard House in New York and was selected to prepare a dinner with Jacque Pepin for Julia Child’s Legion of Honor reception at Julien in 2000.