EDIBLE VOICES

Tracy Kennedy, President of the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

By Maria Buteux Reade / Photography By Liz Lajeunesse | April 27, 2016
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If Tracy Kennedy could change one thing about her childhood? “I would have stuck with clarinet and piano lessons. I was never musically talented so maybe that’s why I’m in awe of those who are.” No surprise that she encourages her nine-year old twin daughters to keep up with the violin.

Perhaps a lack of formal training only enhanced her dedication to music. Since 2012, Tracy has served on the Board of Directors of the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall and was appointed president in 2015. Music appreciation may be hereditary: her father was president of the Syracuse Symphony when Tracy was a kid. “I grew up going to shows. My dad instilled a love of music and culture in my sisters and me, so it’s fun to be able to share this passion with my own three daughters now.”

Tracy, who works for a brokerage firm in Manhattan, lives in downtown Troy with her husband, Brendan, and their three daughters.

Edible Capital District: How would you describe yourself as an eater?

Tracy Kennedy: Adventurous, these days. I was a vegetarian from age 8 to 21. That all changed after I spent a semester in Kenya. I was staying with a host family the first week in the country when they pointed to a brood of chickens and asked me which one was my favorite.  I didn’t really get where this was going so I picked the most attractive one, and they immediately chopped its head off and served it for dinner.  Since then I’ve been an omnivore but my semester abroad taught me to be appreciative for the sacrifice made and for what I have.  Overall, I tend to stay away from carbs…they are like cheesecake for me.

ECD: Describe a typical weekend meal at your home.

TK: Grilled flank steak (marinated in soy sauce, honey, ginger and garlic), spinach & arugula salad with toasted pine nuts, chopped shallots and balsamic dressing, green beans, and possibly a box of Annie’s mac & cheese for the younger crowd. Add to that a steady rotation of unusual vegetables from our Field Goods subscription (think kale sprouts, pea shoots, zucchini flowers, etc).  Otherwise we are eating out at one of the many restaurants in Troy…

ECD: What attracted you to settle in Troy back in 2008?

TK: When we moved up from New York City, we wanted to continue to live in an urban environment. We loved that Troy was a walkable city and a little gritty. A few people thought we were crazy for looking in Troy but we could tell that it was a special and welcoming community. Our agent showed us a house that wasn’t even listed, but we fell in love with it, made an offer and the rest is history.  We’re right across from the Music Hall, which is very convenient.  We have wonderful neighbors – both residential and commercial.

ECD: How has “the scene” evolved since you’ve lived here? And what are some contributing factors?

TK: From a culinary standpoint, Troy is in the midst of a real renaissance. There are so many great places to eat that it’s easy to watch the greens in your refrigerator turn brown because you’ve gone out to dinner four or five nights in a row.  Some of our favorite stops are Finnbar’s, The Shop, Peck’s Arcade, Lo Porto, Sweet Sue’s, The Malt Room, River Street Café, and Collar City Hard Pressed (when I’m in the mood for fresh juice). We moved in to our house the same month that Bacchus Wood-Fired opened two doors down from us, and we consider it our second kitchen.  The staff is like family, the pizza is amazing, and their beer selection is top notch.  As it happens, we have a pizza named after one of our daughters – the Mozza-Bella (sliced meatballs, garlic, spinach and fresh mozzarella) which was the result of a pizza creating and naming contest back in 2009. 

Troy is also a city in transition, and I’m convinced it wouldn’t look the way it does now were it not for several individuals/businesses who took big risks at a time when the payoff seemed less secure.  I view people like Michael Cocca Jr. (Franklin Plaza), Jim Scully (Daisy Bakers/Bacchus), Lynn Kopka (who flagged us down when we driving around Troy just to take a look), Susan Novotny of Market Block Books, (and Market Block staffer Stanley John, who is superb when it comes to book recommendations), and John Hanson, (a gifted interior designer and antique dealer) as pioneers.  Had it not been for these folks, I’m not sure the others would have followed… or maybe it would have just taken a bit longer.

ECD: Any special “date night” places for you and Brendan?  

TK: We rarely leave Troy but when we do, our go-to special place is Café Capriccio. Chef Jim Rua is a genius. Peck’s Arcade is a treat for us and sitting at the chef’s counter is a must! River Street Café -another favorite when we need some adult time and are craving seafood.  The brown butter sauce is amazing.  Prepare to be there for a while as everything is made from scratch.

 

FIVE RAPID-FIRE QUESTIONS

Edible Capital District: What did you have for breakfast today?

Tracy Kennedy: Cinco de Mayo (scrambled eggs with salsa, homemade sausage, corn, jalapenos, cheese, sour cream and dirty rice in a wrap) from B-Rads in Troy, coffee, tomato juice.

ECD: Cake, pie or cookies?

TK: Cake.  Definitely cake.… from Magnolia Bakery in NYC or from Coccadotts in Albany.  Almost named a child Magnolia if that gives you an idea of how much I love cake!  My favorite is plain old yellow cake with vanilla buttercream. 

ECD: Favorite meal growing up? 

TK: Chicken curry with rice.  My mom used to serve it on a lazy-Susan with all sorts of sides like shaved coconut, peanuts, raisins.  It seemed exotic in the 70s…I mean, who ate Indian food back then??

ECD: Guilty pleasure?

TK: Cake – See above.

ECD: Midnight snack?

TK: Thankfully I’m not a snacker and rarely up at midnight these days.  3 kids and a full time job makes for a good night’s rest!

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