For hotelier Jenny Baker, the healthy option comes easily.
“People live much healthier in Sweden. Not because we are necessarily healthier, we just aren’t as Westernized,” says Baker, who is Swedish. She says people will opt for a 30-minute walk or bike to work, rather than drive.
This effortless fitness is reflected in her hotel, c/o Maidstone in East Hampton, as well as in the hotel’s restaurant The Living Room, which celebrates farm-fresh foods with a twist of Swedish cuisine. Sourcing from local farms like Amber Waves or Balsam, Baker says incorporating local producers was an easy choice.
“Why would you not want to work with someone who is your neighbor versus a big competitor?” says Baker. Local sourcing is a “real option” in 2016, says Baker, adding that it feels many South Fork restaurants now share this sentiment, which makes buying and selling wholesale produce easier for the farmers and restauranteurs.
When she first acquired the hotel and restaurant over 15 years ago, she transformed the Maidstone, with the idea of creating a place that was current and featured organic foods.
At the time, she was redoing the hotel and couldn’t find a comfortable place to work or entertain in the off-season. Bored with many of the entertainment options on the East End, Baker knew she could come up with something that offered an extra pizzaz. As she said, “Starbucks just wasn’t doing it for me.”
“I wanted to create a place that is current. What is going on in the world?” says Baker. The hotelier takes care to feature interesting speakers, like hosting Jenny Nordberg this month, to speak about her book “The Underground Girls of Kabul.” Art work is featured on the walls, something that Baker describes as a “pet project.” No matter the topic, Baker’s goal is to spark a conversation in the community, bringing the world to East End.
In an effort to keep things on topic, Baker picks a focus for each month. For April, the Maidstone is focused on “The Cutting Edge.” (List of activities is here.)
In addition to their menu that was re-designed this month to showcase superfoods like chia, matcha, blueberries or walnuts, the hotel is hosting the first East End outpost of NYC-juice company, Lulitonix. Baker’s pro-tip: check out their charcoal juice after a late night this summer; the superfood absorbs heavy metals and toxins, and allegedly cures hangovers.