Award-winning chef joins Stonewood Farm staff
Millbrook, New York – Award-winning executive chef Kristen Essig has joined the staff of Stonewood Farm as Culinary Director.
In this role, Kristen oversees food sourcing and preparation for Stonewood’s community and fundraising gatherings and serves as a liaison between the Market Garden and wholesale customers. She works with the Stonewood team in all aspects of its community outreach to promote food justice throughout the region.
Born and raised in Florida, Kristen attended Johnson & Wales University in Charleston, South Carolina, where she received an Associate Degree in Culinary Science. Relocating to New Orleans, she spent years learning from culinary legends like Chef Emeril Lagasse at Emeril’s and Chef Anne Kearney at Peristyle. She has worked with and managed farmers markets; created programs for private culinary instruction, boutique catering, and front of house management; traveled as a private chef; and worked for small independent operations and for large hospitality groups.
Kristen served as Corporate Executive Chef for LeBlanc + Smith; then as Owner and Co-Executive Chef for sibling restaurants Coquette and Thalia in New Orleans; followed by a continuing role at Dauphine’s, a New Orleans-inspired restaurant in Washington, D.C. Through these varied experiences, Kristen has developed a culinary style known for farmers market-driven dishes and innovative takes on culinary classics, with an emphasis on environmental sustainability, ethical sourcing practices, regenerative farming, and local engagement.
Kristen received the Michelin “Bib Gourmand” Award (2022), and was named a James Beard Award Nominee for “Best Chef, Finalist: South” (2018 and 2019), a Food & Wine Magazine nominee for “People’s Best New Chef” (2015), and a Times-Picayune “Chef to Watch” (2014).
In her spare time, she enjoys reading, spending time with her dog Shirley, traveling, and “attempted” gardening. At Stonewood, Kristen is excited to share with guests the stories of the many cultures, chefs, and traditions she brings to food and farming in the Hudson Valley.