This Entrepreneur Crafts Raw Chocolate and Top Chef Dinners at Her Historic Kingston Home
Chopped champion Ric Orlando is a regular visitor to her 300-year-old abode.
Photos by Clemens Kois
Konstanze Zeller has a lot on her plate.
To start, there’s the house renovation. Zeller purchased her Marbletown retreat, aptly named 7M2K, or 7 Miles to Kingston, in September 2016 after spotting it on the first stop on her home shopping tour with a realtor. The intensive repairs took a year to complete and involved rebuilding the top floor and adding in the water and heating system that the 300-year-old home lacked. It was an effort, but one that paid off. As a glimpse through the interior reveals, Zeller honors the history of the longstanding stone house with rustic wood beams and floors, artfully distressed walls, and rustic doors and decorative elements.
A native of Salzburg, Austria who made a name for herself as a hairdresser and makeup artist in New York City, Zeller now lives in her rehabbed abode 85 percent of the time. To achieve a balance between her country lifestyle and her entrepreneurial endeavors, she even converted the basement into a workshop and production space for Cocorau, her nutrient-based raw snack and herb powder line.
The “snacks” (think raw chocolate bites flavored with signature notes like lavender, espresso, and matcha) and adaptogenic elixirs came about as a result of Zeller’s international travels and discovery of healing ingredients to fuel and restore the body. Her foray into raw products met with much success, and she now sells them online and via stockists throughout New York City, the Hudson Valley, and beyond. Local retailers include Sunflower Natural Foods Market in Woodstock, Olsen and Company in Saugerties, and the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck.
With a historic home, a health food company, and select freelance assignments on her plate, Zeller already has a lot going on in her life. This autumn, however, she adds yet another entry to her ever-expanding resume. On September 28, she partners with acclaimed chef Ric Orlando to host a unique farm-to-table dining event at her house.
“I really like his personality,” Zeller enthuses of Orlando, the Hudson Valley chef who owns New World Home Cooking in Saugerties and New World Bistro Bar in Albany, who won Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay, and who earned numerous Best of Hudson Valley awards for Best Chef, Best Restaurant, and Best Gluten Free. Although Orlando has used Zeller’s house for filming and photo shoots in the past, this is the first time the pair have collaborated on an event.
Designed to accommodate 30-40 people, the intimate dinner focuses on the flavors of Kingston and the surrounding Hudson Valley. On the menu, Orlando features a local beet tartare, roasted mushrooms with truffle essence, and Hudson Valley duck, to name only a few of the delectable dishes. For dessert, Zeller’s signature chocolates pair alongside a selection of regional cheeses, jams, honeys, and charred bread.
“We are working on it constantly,” Zeller, who helms the design aspect of the dinner, reveals. She looks forward to opening her home to visitors, since the experience will give her a taste of how to organize potential future events.
“I am planning a wellness awareness event,” she explains of her next project down the road. Although she’s still working out all the details, she hopes to create an experiential setting for visitors that is just as much about education as it is about relaxation.
“There will be talks about food and what we can change in our diet,” she says. “That’s my real passion and why I do this.”
For more information about the farm-to-table dinner with Chef Ric Orlando, visit www.7milestokingston.com.