When then 23-year-old chef Peter Kelly opened his first restaurant in Garrison in 1983, he had one question: Can a restaurant have a significant impact on a community? Over 30 years and five Hudson Valley restaurants later, the self-taught and critically-acclaimed chef-restaurateur has continuously learned the answer.
On June 1, Kelly will be honored at the “Patron Saints of Yonkers” celebration of past and present individuals who have made a mark on the city of Yonkers and its people. A Yonkers native and one of 12 children, Kelly is a long-time advocate of the farm-to-table movement alongside healthy eating and food education. In 2014, he co-founded the Chef Peter X. Kelly Teaching Kitchen at New York Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, which is a part of the hospital’s Harvest for Health program. Promoting a “health through food” mantra, the program has revolutionized the hospital’s meal plan system and offers an organic garden, farmers’ markets, adult and children cooking classes to patients and the community.
In addition, Kelly is co-chair of Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, the bi-annual, farm-to-table-inspired dining event that spans 114 miles across the region. As chef-owner of Xaviars Restaurant Group, Kelly employs almost exclusively Yonkers residents at his two restaurants, Xaviars X20 on the Hudson and Restaurant X & Bully Boy Bar. The introduction of X20 revitalized the historic Yonkers riverfront district, turning the long-abandoned pier site into a wave of waterfront redevelopment.
“From contributing to economic development as a business owner to becoming part of so many family-based celebrations at the restaurants, good food is what revitalizes a community,” Kelly says. “Giving back, meeting everyone who comes through our doors, and of course, the cooking, is such a big piece to my roots here in Yonkers.”
The event, held by The Friends of Philipse Manor Hall New York State Historic Site, will also posthumously recognize Francis J. Moultrie, a prominent restaurateur and caterer of the 1890s. Moultrie came to Yonkers after the Civil War with 50 cents in his pocket, set out to achieve his American dream.
For event ticket information and more, visit philipsemanorfriends.blogspot.com.