Inside the Festival: A Mini Festival – of Food

Patch takes a behind-the-scenes look at the Stony Brook Film Festival.

Film lovers attending the Stony Brook Film Festival will take in 10 days of short and feature-length films, but a movie was not all they took in on Thursday night.

Those who attended the opening night reception were treated to what could legitimately be called a festival of food. The spread of meats, cheeses, olives, desserts and other light fare had some people comparing the reception's food to some of the finest restaurants they'd been to.

Mark Miller of Setauket was one of those people. He enjoyed the chocolate-and-cheese panini served hot off the grill.

"I travel for work a lot, and it was nothing I've had before," said Mark Miller of Setauket. "It was really wonderful."

Lobster ravioli and panini were served hot-off-the-grill. Rocky Point Artisan Brewery served a red ale and a Hefeweisen, while wine offerings included Rex Goliath's "Giant 47 Pound Rooster" cabernet sauvignon, organic Natura chardonnay, and a Beringer pinot grigio.

Among the cheese offerings: camembert; emmental, a high quality Swiss cheese; chocolate goat cheese, and sage derby, a mild cheese laced with green coloring due to the sage.

"I was skeptical of the sage derby, but that was very good," said Isaac Lewis of Chicago, who is a vegetarian. "This is a very good cheese selection."

Rosemary Lasala of Mt. Sinai agreed.

"It's wonderful," she said, "the very different things they have on the menu."

The dessert offerings included mousse cups with names like "death by chocolate" and cupcakes galore – one of the hottest dessert trends, as evidenced by the celebrity cupcake boutiques and television cooking shows.

"I always try to do everything at such a high level, especially for the folks at the Staller Center, because the film festival is a wonderful event to be involved with," said Lisa Ambrosio, the director of the catering arm of the university's Campus Dining Services, one of the people who planned the menu.

Ambrosio, who has been with that department for two years, said she and her chefs were aiming for a broad selection of light fare with something different that perhaps people hadn't had before.

The campus catering service caters "nearly everything" on campus, such as conferences and meetings, and has even done catering at the home of the university president.

"To me this is a regular day at the part," Ambrosio said. "Bring something delicious, something fun, and hope everyone has a good time."


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