Adirondack Culinary Influencers

There is a thread of love for the region, commitment to working with local farmers and producers, and a passion for hospitality that share the influence of this "behind the scenes" college.

Paul Sorgule

The Adirondacks are unique in so many ways. Obviously, this is one of Nature's most pristine havens, the Park will always have two Olympics to reflect on, outdoor sports abound, and those who live or visit here are never short on stories about the big one that got away.

What many may not realize is the strong culinary culture that exists and what may very well be considered the foundation of that culture.

Nestled on ten plus thousand acres of land in the heart of the Adirondacks is a private college with a long history of involvement in the hospitality industry. Paul Smith, an Adirondack guide, storyteller and hotelier built, with his wife Lydia, a destination resort on the shores of Lower St. Regis Lake that would become, at the turn of the 20th century, one of the premier getaways for the rich and famous.

Upon his and later his son's death, the property was given for the formation of an institution to be known as Paul Smith's College with majors that reflected Paul's two loves: forestry and hospitality. This hands-on teaching institution was one of the first such college's in the United States. For decades it would be Paul Smith's and Cornell University that trained America's hoteliers. In 1980, Paul Smith's expanded its programs to include Culinary Arts when only a few such institutions of higher learning were in existence. Today, that number exceeds 1,000 colleges.

Strolling down the streets of Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, this Paul Smith's influence abounds, although few know of the reach. The Mirror Lake Inn, Liquids and Solids, Chair 6, Saratoga Olive Oil, the Whiteface Club, Crowne Plaza, Nicola's Restaurant, Origins Coffee, Blue Moon Café, Left Bank Café, Lake Flour Bakery, Borracho Taco, Desperados, The Palm Restaurant at Paul Smith's, The St. Regis Café, and others within the 6 million acre park are owned, operated, or have a chef or manager who is a product of Paul Smith's College.

There is a thread of love for the region, commitment to working with local farmers and producers, and a passion for hospitality that share the influence of this "behind the scenes" college.

Still many others who experienced the Adirondacks while at Paul Smith's have taken their talents to all corners of the country. You can see alumni owned and operated restaurants and hotels from Maine to Florida, Chicago to Seattle, and California to Louisiana. Each one of these hoteliers and chefs brings a little bit of the Adirondacks to those who are not so fortunate to live here. The influence is amazing.

While visiting the Park, stop into these locations and ask about Paul Smith's, this is sure to bring a smile in return.

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About the Author …
Paul Sorgule
Paul Sorgule is a seasoned veteran of the food business and the current president of Harvest America Ventures, a consulting and training firm for the restaurant industry. He lives in Saranac Lake with his wife, Sharon, where they raised three kids.
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