Michael Ballon

Author of the Castle Street Cafe Cookbook

Chef Michael Ballon opened the Castle Street Cafe in 1989, after a decade of cooking in New York City. Ten years later, he expanded the storefront cafe to open the Celestial Bar, which remains one of the few venues for live jazz in the Northeast. Located in downtown Great Barrington next to the historic Mahaiwe Theater, Castle Street Cafe has received strong reviews from the New York, Boston, regional and local press.

One of the early adopters of the local food-to-table movement, Ballon was voted Berkshire Grown’s Chef of the Year in 2000. He has appeared on cooking shows for WAMC Northeast Public Radio and WGBY, been featured in Berkshire Living magazine and published recipes in several local papers. His food essays appear regularly in Berkshire Homestyle Magazine.

In 2007, in honor of the Celestial Bar’s 10th anniversary, Ballon curated the CD “Jazz from Castle Street Cafe,” which features performances from 14 of many of the top jazz musicians who have performed at the cafe. The Castle Street Cafe Cookbook is his first book.

Visit Castle Street Cafe’s website here.