Ali Rosen cut her teeth in news as an on-camera reporter at NY1, but she long harbored a desire to work in the food world. And so she took a job with the Daily Meal, which was just starting to shoot video, and got to work building content on food personalities from around the country. "It was a fun place to be," she says of her time there. "I'm really excited about what they're doing." But she had bigger plans, and so she left to launch Potluck Video, where she's attempting to make inroads into the relatively unexplored world of food-related web video.
Courtesy Potluck Video
Jen Huang Amy Noelle of Sugar Flower Cake Shop
It was the summer breaks and early weekday recesses that led then high school math teacher Amy Noelle to sign up for cake decorating class, where she quickly discovered she had a knack for baking -- and family and friends quickly took notice. "I have five nieces and nephews, and I started making their cakes -- and people were impressed," she says. That confidence boost quickly landed her in a sugar flower-making class, where she realized she had the interest and patience for crafting the time-consuming but highly rewarding gum paste cake adornments. "That was where everything really clicked for me," she explains. In 2006 she opened Sugar Flower Cake Shop in the Hudson Valley, and this past Valentine's Day marks her third year in business at her Chelsea location (336 W 37th St #950, 212-993-6441) -- situated conveniently near the Chelsea Flower District. Here, Noelle discusses her rooftop honey icing, why she gets amped about creating Juliet roses, and the time she delved even deeper into the outdoors -- i.e. the woods -- for her one special creation.
Cono and Anna Morena have deep roots in Williamsburg -- not only have they owned La Nonna, a cozy Bedford Avenue Italian retreat, since 2007, Anna's grandfather owns the neighborhood's San Marco Pizzeria. So when they began looking for a second location in the same vicinity, they were conscious of the challenges of rebuilding a crowd of regulars. La Nonna's second location on the Williamsburg waterfront made its debut last week.
Courtesy La Nonna
The 13th annual South Beach Wine and Food Festival kicks off today, and myriad Big Apple-based chefs aren't passing up the opportunity to head to warmer temperatures for the four-day extravaganza of dinners, tastings, demos, and parties. SoBe is just one opportunity for chefs to partake in the food festival circuit, an industry subculture that continues to gain participants for its unique ability to connect food and beverage professionals in an otherwise impossible context. And while a year-round flurry of fests can monopolize a chef's calendar nowadays, that wasn't always the case.
South Beach Wine and Food Festival via Facebook
When Andrew Burman and company moved into the old Anima space on Myrtle Avenue in Clinton Hill, they weren't sure just how to handle the six-foot wood oven left by the building's previous tenant. The restaurant they planned to open, The Runner (458 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-643-6500), wouldn't be an Italian restaurant or a pizza place, and Burman didn't have any meaningful experience working with a wood oven.
Photo via The Runner
Still, he decided to keep it, and now much of the menu of this new New American outpost, which opened February 3, runs through the oven. "We use it for everything," Burman says. "All the roasts come out of it, we're doing a baked trout and a lamb shoulder -- I use it in so many different ways; I can use it to just fire and sear off something, and cover it and let it braise, or we use it to braise something off in the beginning, where it's covered, and we go nice and slow."More »
Giafrese The Heath
London-based production company Punchdrunk (Sleep No More) opened The Heath at the McKittrick Hotel this November, bringing the immersive theatre experience to a restaurant setting and, in the process, equipping executive chef R.L. King with terms like "cue" and "understudy" -- phrases that would soon become as commonly used as "fire" and "sous chef." King likes the new lexicon. "Being able to work with the sound, lighting, props, designers, performers, choreographers -- it's been the experience of a lifetime," he says. "Not many chefs get an opportunity to do something like this." The South Carolina native developed a greenmarket-driven approach rooted in classic techniques (thanks to sharing kitchen space with chefs Frank Lee and R.J. Cooper), a style that informs The Heath's menu of elevated English dishes -- from fry-ups to Sunday-style roasts. In the interview that follows, King chats about his new culinary freedom, his newfound love for British fare, and why he leaves his ego at the kitchen door.
All photos by Hannah Palmer Egan The dining room glows at Dekalb Restaurant in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
Most restaurant-owners don't break into song midway through an interview, but then, most restaurants don't have a guitar stashed in the corner. Most restaurants also lack an owner who's played with most of the Wailers, or whose grandfather schooled the Skatelites in Ska before Ska was a thing. But Dekalb Restaurant (564 Dekalb Avenue, Brooklyn, 347-857-7097, dekalbrestaurant.com) is not most restaurants.
Opened in late January by a rag-tag team of artists, musicians, and long-established New York food people, Dekalb sits on the ground floor of an old linen factory/laundry on its namesake street, just off Bedford Avenue in Bed-Stuy. Co-owners Ras Levi and Stefan Fahrer, among many others, spent the last nine months painstakingly reassembling discarded bits of Gotham into a lush, beautiful space that warms as it welcomes you.
Peter Sherman spent a decade in fine dining, working his way through kitchens under Joel Robuchon, David Bouley, and April Bloomfield. But a question he was asked early in his journey resonated with him: "When I started at Robuchon, we had a Japanese chef," he says. "It was his first time living and working in New York. He said to me, 'Peter, my brother called me and said to send him something American. What am I supposed to send him?' I couldn't answer the question. Coca-Cola? Money? It stuck in my head as something I should be able to answer."
All photos courtesy BarBacon
That question served as inspiration years later as he began pondering his own place, and he settled generally on barbecue, and more specifically on bacon. "It dawned on me years later that what we do and represent is barbecue and smoked meats," he says. "In this city, we do that at the highest level in the world. Our smoked bacon is definitely among the best, and we're not approaching that as we should."
And so BarBacon (836 Ninth Avenue, 646-362-0622) was born, a bacon-centric restaurant that Sherman opened in Hell's Kitchen in January.More »
Yes, we understand that your feelings about Whole Foods may be somewhat confusing -- the new location in Gowanus, our staff writer Anna Merlan wrote, is great, which makes her feel somewhat terrible. One major positive: The stores really work hard to support local producers, a task that, in this area of the country, falls partially to Chris Manca.
Courtesy Whole Foods