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Cortlandt Daily Voice serves Buchanan, Cortlandt & Croton

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Clearwater: The Ultimate Catering Challenge

For more than 30 years, thousands of people from around New York State, the tri-state area and beyond come out for Clearwater’s Great Hudson River Revival , touted as the nation’s biggest environmental festival. About 2,000 people volunteer at the festival, along with dozens of performers and vendors.

Gregar Brous, owner of Brous & Mehaffey Collegetown Bagels and Ithaca Bakery , the caterer for the event, will serve over 13,000 meals over the course of three days, including specialty dinners for performers, one gourmet meal for the Jackson Browne charity show, and any other special events required by the festival.

“It’s a challenge,” said Brous. “The biggest challenge is the logistics. It’s like a big puzzle when you have to coordinate the whole thing.” The main kitchen in Croton Point Park, where Brous does most of his cooking, is about a mile away from the volunteer food tent, where he will serve most of the food, and where his makeshift kitchen is setup. Brous also has to deliver food to two other volunteer tents around the festival, and to the dressing rooms of each artist.

For tonight’s volunteer “welcome dinner,” alone, Brous, along with his three children and 12 members of his staff, will cook and serve about 900 pounds of meat, for pulled pork and barbecue chicken, about 400 pounds of lettuce for salad, 75 gallons of lemonade and 9 full size sheet cakes for a strawberry shortcake dessert, and that is only a sampling of what he will serve to his relatively small crowd of 1,200 people.

Over the course of the weekend, Gregar will brew about 120 pounds of freshly roasted coffee, donated by Michael Grant, owner of the Black Cow in Croton , and will require a long list of items from Restaurant Depot in Rockland County, picked up by Craig Purdy, owner of Umami . After cooking, serving and satiating the hunger of all Clearwater’s volunteers, and using enough food stuffs to fill a 28 foot tractor trailer one and a half times (at least), Brous will have fulfilled his charge.

After packing his trucks with all his kitchen equipment for the long ride back to Ithaca, Brous takes his whole crew out to breakfast. “We talk and joke about the weekend, we decompress, and then caravan home,” said Brous.

Clearwater has always landed on Father’s Day, so Brous said he “always has some kids, but this is the first year all my kids are here,” he said, referring to his two daughters, Chelsea, 19, and Lindsey, 21, and his son, Miles, 16. All three will help Brous orchestrate the massive task of feeding thousands of people for two-and-a-half days.

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