Master chefs and culinary artists are inspired by their gardens, farms, greenmarkets, & artisanal food makers. Author Leeann Lavin has written a book about the nexus of garden art and culinary art. The blog chronicles the process of producing the first-in-a-series-book: The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook & explores the exciting, burgeoning farm to table movement, food, and local, seasonal, delicious ingredients.
Not from my writing, mind you – but I can’t seem to carve out the time to write the blog, as I am so busy writing my book…
Yet, I love blogs. I love their immediacy, consistent story telling; their intimacy and the courage displayed in their author’s delivery.There’s no hesitation to share expertise, opinions, photos.
Once I checked with my editor that it was OK to pursue the blog, I thought I’d take to it like morning coffee.
In fact, I eagerly wrote the first entry and couldn’t wait to write and post news about the trials, triumphs, joys and exciting adventures involved in writing and producing my first book: “Celebrity Chefs & Their Gardens” (working title.) The concept I pitched my publisher was to explore the nexus of where garden art meets the other arts – the franchise would be how gardens inspire musicians, sculptures, painters, and above all, the culinary artist. They most demonstrably use the bounty of the garden in their culinary art.
It is a joyful experience that interests just about everyone who hears about the process – from foodies to gardeners to politicos to champions of healthy eating as way to healthy living aficionados.(I did say everyone, right?)
Further, my daily routine couldn’t have been better conceived or more simple or fun.During the week when we live in our jewel-box apartment in Greenwich Village in New York City, the goal was to follow my early morning workout at the health club with some coffee, writing the blog, shower, (maybe reverse that order – no dirty blog writing!), write a celebrity chef profile (or two) for the book, break; then render the garden art for the book – which is a water color of every chef’s garden design whether it’s their personal home garden, the Greenmarket (www.cenycgreenmarket.org), the restaurant’s or a favorite farm he uses.(and the chefs are, curiously, almost all men.)
I did this brilliant routine exactly -- zero times.
How could this be, I’d ask myself over the evening’s martini cocktail as I reviewed the day and took a break with my husband before returning to writing or the art.
Mainly, because I was so busy scheduling photo shoots and interviews.If I have 16 NYC master chefs with two photo shoots for each – the kitchen and the garden, along with the interviews – well, you can do the math… And not surprisingly, schedules change – especially for “my” famous chefs who manage multiple restaurants in their empire, and/or support a plethora of community greenmarket and farm initiatives.Many have admin staff and/or public relations support.I have to contact my crackerjack team: the book’s photographer, Jennifer Calais Smith (www.jennifercalaissmith.com) and the food stylist, Patty White (www.pattywhitefoodstylist.com)
So you see, when rescheduling, there are any number of players that need to be consulted.No different from any corporate or project work, it’s just I was the only one doing the scheduling and correspondence and the changes.And believe me, I loved coordinating with all the chefs and their staffs.They are all super talented, energized, dedicated artists and professionals.
With deadlines looming, it wasn’t too long before I realized I needed help.I had to write and produce the art. No one else could do that.But if I could get some assistance in the coordination of all the detailed full-color, photography, then we’d be good.Ta da! Enter Lauren Grimley – smart, savvy, not to mention oh-so-pretty girlfriend, now former girlfriend L, of my nephew, Garrett.She’s genius and can surely help me keep my focus on what I need to do while adding to the team dynamic.
It has, ahem, been some months, that I have submitted a posting.But I am an avowed optimist and think these turn of events will lead to more time for writing, art and blogging.
Back to a central question of my singular first/only blog:
What chefs in NYC and Long Island, including the Hamptons, the Gold Coast, and Five Towns do you recommend for the book??