Chef Michele Ragussis stands confidently with arms crossed, wearing a dark chef's coat with the name 'Chef Michele' embroidered in gold. She has short, tousled hair and tattoos on her forearms, showcasing a blend of professional and personal style. The background is a simple gray, drawing focus to her friendly and determined expression.
Chef Michele Ragussis; photo by Gedney Farms.

June Culinary Corner Chef Michele Ragussis — Gedney Farm, New Marlborough

June 4, 2024

This article was originally published by the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism.

By Phyllis M. Cahaly, CMD, Director of Partnership Marketing, Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

Jump to recipe for Chef Ragussis’ Bolognese with Ramp Pasta

“Am I in the South of France or am I in Massachusetts?” Chef Michele Ragussis asked herself as she drove out to Gedney Farm in New Marlborough, Massachusetts, “Yeah, it’s that beautiful,” she adds.

A large, rustic barn with a weathered wooden exterior and a red facade stands prominently in a grassy area. Two large, ornate rusted urns are positioned in the foreground, adding a touch of antiquity to the scene. Soft string lights are draped across the barn, and a tall evergreen tree is nestled against the side, enhancing the cozy, inviting atmosphere. The sky is overcast, contributing to the serene and picturesque setting
The red walls of Gedney Farm in New Marlborough, Massachusetts; photo by Gedney Farm.

Meet Chef Michele Ragussis, Head Chef since last February at the stunning Gedney Farm, an oasis tucked away in The Berkshires. A self-proclaimed refuge where you are free to relax and be yourself. An oasis where every detail for your stay and/or dining will be handled by their attentive staff, right down to that particular char on your wood-grilled steak – and that’s where Chef Ragussis comes in.

A lush, green pathway framed by tall grasses and mature trees leads into the distance. Sunlight filters through the dense canopy, creating dappled patterns on the grass. The trees are full of vibrant leaves, suggesting a warm and tranquil summer day. The inviting path curves gently, suggesting an idyllic and serene journey ahead.
Arriving on Knoll. The rolling green grass of the knoll at Gedney Farm in New Marlborough, Massachusetts.; photo by Gedney Farm.

A true New Englander born and raised in Connecticut, Chef Ragussis is all about food and wanting to feed you because that’s her family’s love language. “I was born on Thanksgiving Day to my Greek/Italian parents and my dad literally brought a turkey to the hospital, so I was born thinking, like wow, what’s that smell? My dad was always roasting a turkey; my mom would wake up and just start rolling meatballs (don’t miss Phyllis’ Meatballs on the Gedney Farm menu). My dad would be making breakfast, cutlets, bread, stuffing lambchops. “It’s just what we did as a family. “says Chef Ragussis. “I’d have friends over and my parents would just feed, feed, feed them and they’d tell me how full they were and I’d say, ha, we haven’t even started yet, dinners next. It was my parents’ way of showing their love.”

A vibrant bowl of seafood stew featuring mussels, shrimp, and clams in a rich tomato broth, garnished with fresh herbs. A slice of grilled bread rests on top of the bowl, ready for dipping. The dish is served on a wooden table with a glass of white wine and a fork nearby, creating an inviting and delicious presentation.
A slice of toast balances on a blue bowl full of delicious muscles. Gedney Farm; photo by Quentin Bacon.

Not hard to believe, why even her last name begins with food, RAGU, and food, meaning feeding people, is all she thinks about too! Whether she’s making and taking tacos to her seven-year-old neighbor’s Lacrosse game, cooking at Gedney Farm or competing on Food Network, Chef Ragussis is always on the move. She gained recognition as a finalist on the eighth season of Food Network Star and has also competed on many of that station’s popular shows such as Chopped, 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, NBC Food Fighters, Comeback Kitchen and won two episodes of Guy’s Grocery Games. Chef Ragussis is also a repeat judge on Beat Bobby Flay, where she appeared as a contestant and actually did beat Bobby Flay with her rendition of Pastitsio! When asked what one occurrence brings the most outstanding culinary memory, Chef Ragussis is quick to answer, “Being able to cook with and amongst the best but beating Bobby Flay is so memorable because he’s such an icon.”

A charming, rustic building with a weathered red exterior is partially obscured by lush green trees and foliage. The building has large windows and a sloped roof with dormer windows, adding to its quaint appeal. In the foreground, a stone pillar with a bright yellow pinwheel and a wooden fence contribute to the inviting, picturesque setting. The scene is bathed in natural sunlight, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The photo is credited to Eric Limón Photography.
Abeautiful summer day at Gedney Farm in New Marlborough, Massachusetts. Gedney Farm; photo by Eric Limon.

Chef Ragussis’ journey to Gedney Farm in The Berkshires is a delightful expedition filled with adventure, taking risks, self-challenges and meeting interesting people. After graduating from Johnson & Wales University with a culinary degree in hand, Chef Ragussis wasn’t exactly sure what she wanted to do. She had attended J&W in her late 20’ s and felt restricted with all of the rules and structures and found that bartending was a creative outlet. One day, she wandered into the kitchen of a Bristol, Rhode Island restaurant and found her calling. “I don’t know what happened, but you’ve got a 16-burner stove running, fryolators going, sauté pans flaring, people are yelling and I was home. I felt like an octopus with 12 arms and it just came naturally because the minute I walked into that kitchen, I just knew what to do,” says Chef Ragussis.

Chef Michele Ragussis, the Head Chef at Gedney Farm since last February, stands confidently in a professional kitchen. She leans on a stainless steel counter with folded kitchen towels in front of her. Wearing a gray t-shirt, a blue apron, and a blue and white bandana, she has tattoos visible on her forearms. Industrial pendant lights hang above, illuminating the space, which features stainless steel appliances and a tiled backsplash. Chef Ragussis gazes directly at the camera with a determined expression.
Chef Ragussis; photo by Gedney Farm.

Her next move took her to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she met a restauranteur who gave her a shot to run his restaurant. “I was so lucky to have someone give me the best piece of advice I’ve ever had,” says Chef Ragussis. “He said the day you stop having fun here, you have to let me know because it will go downhill from there.” After four years, she wasn’t having fun any longer and moved to North Carolina for a couple of years but missed the east coast. She then moved to the Boston area and saw an ad for a chef for a Provincetown restaurant and that’s where she met Peter Miscikoski, Owner/Sommelier of Gedney Farm.

A strainer balances above a delicious cocktail.
Gedney Farm; photo by Quentin Bacon

She worked in Ptown for four years and made her next move to the Hudson Vally, NY to be close to her sisters. Then later, she carved out a very successful living as a private chef in the Hamptons for eight years and eventually reconnected with Peter Miscikoski, along with Michael Smith, Owner/General Manager at Gedney Farm who offered her the position of head chef. “Peter said that the restaurant is only open Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays and that there is one wedding every Saturday, he told me I could hire anyone I wanted and that I would have complete creative control of the menu,” says Chef Ragussis. “Not to mention that there’s a huge outdoor area with an Argentine grill, an outstanding garden with over 60 types of vegetation and a massive pizza over. It’s like a chef’s playground and it’s been amazing and has really sparked my creative juices again.”

The Gedney Farm Patio Grill.
Gedney Farm Patio Grill; photo by Joe Elliott.

Gedney Farm, which offers an idyllic experience for both lodging and dining, takes reservations and walk-ins. At this time of year, all of the cooking is outside, everything is wood fired including the steaks, the steaming shellfish, and all of the seafood. Chef Ragussis lets the season and the weather drive her menu planning, she loves the seasonal offerings in Massachusetts and her menu changes daily or weekly, depending on what is available. “It was just 55 degrees and I made a brown butter ricotta Gnudi but the next day it was so cold I made a spicey tomato sauce which was warm and comforting,” says Chef Ragussis. “I always ask myself, if it’s hot, what do I want to be eating? I let the weather guide me and with that amazing garden, anything is a possibility at Gedney Farm.” Talk about the ultimate farm to table experience, Chef Ragussis and the Gedney Farm specialty gardeners wander out into the garden and literally pick your dinner fresh from the ground and it will soon be whipped up into a unique and tantalizing dish by Chef Ragussis whose expertise in New England seafood cuisine and her Greek and Italian heritage shines through on her menu.

The lobby at Gedney Farm.
Lobby at Gedney Farm; photo by Eric Limon.

Right now, the ramps are ramped at Gedney Farm, which means that this seasonal spring plant from the allium family, with a flavor similar to garlic and scallions, is getting some love. “I’ve been in the forest almost every day picking ramps, there’s more than the eye can see out there,” says Chef Ragussis. “I was trying to figure out what I could do with them and then it hit me to make a ramp Spanakopita by exchanging the spinach for the ramps and served with warm pita with cultured butter and flaky salt.” There’s that Greek heritage in action again and honestly, you just never know what you are going to get with Chef Ragussis, and that is a wonderful thing!

Wine bottles lined up in a close-up shot.
Old Telegram; photo by Joe Elliott.

Since Chef Ragussis changes the menu at her whim, the ‘must try items’ are really anything on that day’s menu. As she points out, many restaurants may change side dishes, but Chef Ragussis is interested in shaking things up and changing all of the menu items, not just the side dishes, to keep things fresh and exciting for both new and especially for returning patrons. The appetizers, entrees and desserts are ever-changing, even the bread selection changes too! It could be homemade pita, potato rolls or even Frena bread. While you’ll always find some type of homemade pasta on the menu, right now Chef Ragussis is playing around with linguini and clams, a variety of meatballs (her favorite is named after her mother, Phyllis’ Meatballs), watermelon salad and firing up that giant outdoor pizza oven with some thin-crust, coal-fired Neapolitan New Haven-style pizza, after all, she is from Connecticut.

A glass and bottle of rose sit on an outdoor wooden table.
Rose and Outdoor Dining; photo by Gedney Farm

Chef Ragussis boils it down to one word about what brings her the most joy in her career: cooking. “Cooking. It’s the coming up with ideas, being creative, taking an ingredient with little or no flavor or in its raw state and changing it into something amazing. To me, that is really the coolest thing about food and feeding people. It’s your way of showing people that you care and there’s just something special about not only feeding people but also knowing that people want to come and eat your food,” says Chef Ragussis.

Chef Ragussis stands in a well-lit kitchen, working.
Chef Ragussis; photo by Gedney Farm

At the end of the day, Chef Ragussis’ ‘go-to’ comfort food is a big bowl of pasta and meatballs. She loves to cook with family and friends, although is quick to add that many of them, understandably, refrain from cooking for her. “Everybody’s afraid to cook for me and I don’t like that. I don’t care what they cook for me, just the fact that someone wants to prepare a meal for me is cool,” says Chef Ragussis.

As a New Englander, Chef Ragussis enjoys being by the water and loves Cape Cod and Gloucester. She has also developed a deep affection for the beauty of The Berkshires and enjoys exploring the area. She is interested in discovering Central Massachusetts and the Greater Springfield area, too. “Massachusetts is a cool state,” says Chef Ragussis. Thanks Chef, we think you’re cool too!

A plate full of Chef Ragussis’ Bolognese with Ramp Pasta Gedney Farm; photo by Quintin Bacon.

June Recipe of the Month
Chef Ragussis’ Bolognese with Ramp Pasta


1 yellow onion
2 gloves garlic
1 8-oz package of diced pancetta
1 large carrot peeled and diced small
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1 sprig rosemary
1 small can tomato paste
1 jar of Mutti Passina tomato puree
1 cup red wine (something good that you will drink)
1/2 cup whole milk


Sauté onion, garlic, carrots, chopped rosemary and pancetta on medium heat about 4 -5 minutes
Add tomato paste and let cook another minute and add the wine. Let reduce a bit and then add the meat
Once browned strain most of the fat. Add the meat back in the pan and add the tomato. Turn down low and simmer about an hour.
Add the milk and let cook another 1/2 hour.
Mix with your favorite pasta add a good heaping of grated parmesan and the zest of half a lemon.

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